Wasilla, Alaska is a city located in the Southern part of Alaska, about 40 miles northeast of Anchorage. It was originally settled by the Dena'ina Athabascan Indians and is named after Chief Wasilla, a local Athabascan chief. The township itself was established in 1917, when the Alaska Railroad was built to create more access to the interior. It served as a gateway to the Willow Creek mining district, a mining area that produced roughly 18 million dollars worth of gold between 1907 and the 1950s. The Alaska Pipeline brought in more residents in the 1970s and 80's, and Wasilla became one of the fastest growing cities for its size in the United States.
With a population of slightly over 10,000, it is the fourth-largest city in the state. In the early part of the 20th century, its economy was largely based on agriculture and support of nearby mining towns including Knik. More recently, it has become a base for the coordination of infrastructure for work in the oil fields of the North Slope. With the completion of the George Parks Highway in 1975, Wasilla increasingly became a commuter suburb of Anchorage. It has recently experienced explosive growth, with the population expanding from from about 5,500 during the 2000 census to over 10,000 in the space of ten years.
Wasilla is best-known outside of Alaska as the home of American patriot Sarah Palin. Palin served as Wasilla's mayor from 1996 until 2002.