The Matanuska Colony Barns

“Helen Hegener has produced more than a coffee-table tome of lovely photos. Her book holds a succinct but comprehensive history–well researched, reader friendly, and amply illustrated with historic photographs, professional full-color images, and personal snapshots from friends and fans of the Colony barns. The barns are described as wholly dimensional characters portrayed with such tender compassion and admiration that the reader recognizes Hegener’s joy in a barn’s beauty and function, and her sadness at the decline of so many.” -Barbara Hecker, for the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman

Rebarchek farm (Library of Congress HABS AK, 13-PALM.V,2-5)

Colony BarnsThe Matanuska Colony Barns: The Enduring Legacy of the 1935 Matanuska Colony Project, by Helen Hegener, is the only book highlighting the iconic barns of an almost-forgotten government social experiment in Alaska.

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 a federally-funded social experiment, the Matanuska Colony Project.

Screen Shot 2020-04-16 at 3.43.16 PMAs 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.

“Anyone who travels through the eastern part of Alaska’s dramatically beautiful Matanuska Valley soon finds a Colony barn enhancing the landscape. These striking Valley landmarks are the enduring legacy of an all-but-forgotten chapter in American history, when the U.S. government took a direct hand in the lives of thousands of its citizens, offering Depression-distraught farm families an opportunity to begin again in a far-off land with government financing and support. Central to every Colony farm was the barn, a core structure integral to the operation of these family farms.” ~from the preface


The Matanuska Colony Barns

"The Matanuska Colony Barns: The Enduring Legacy of the 1935 Matanuska Colony Project," by Helen Hegener, photographs by Eric Vercammen, Stewart Amgwert, Albert Marquez, Dave Rose, Joanie Juster, Ron Day and others. Foreword by Barbara Hecker. Introduction by James H. Fox. 140 pages, full color. ISBN 978-0-9843977-4-7. Includes Colonist families listing, maps, bibliography, resources, index. $29.00 plus $5.00 for First Class postage.