It’s been my good fortune to live in the Matanuska Valley for more than 40 years, and the Matanuska Colony barns have always been a part of my life in Alaska. Driving the roads around Palmer and Wasilla one sees the old structures often, glimpsed down a tree-lined dirt lane or silhouetted against a mountain backdrop, and they rarely fail to bring a smile. Like trusted and comforting old friends, the barns are always there.
In 1935 the U.S. Government transported 200 families from the Great Depression-stricken midwest to a valley of unparalleled beauty in Alaska, where they were given the chance to begin new lives as part of the Matanuska Colony Project. As part of each family’s farmstead, a magnificent barn was raised, a sturdy square structure 32′ by 32′ and soaring 32′ high. Today these Colony barns are an iconic reminder of what has been called the last great pioneering adventure in America.
The video is free to watch on this website. The book is available here or at Amazon. The website is filled with photographs, the history of the barns and the Matanuska Colony Project, and more. Check them out!