Nineteen hours of summer sun and loamy soil promised rich harvests when the federal government established the Matanuska Valley Colony in 1935. In May of that year, some 200 families who had lost their farms in the economic turmoil of the Great Depression were selected to go north to build new lives. Most of them came from Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin, where farming in very cold climates was common. Even so, only some of the colonists were successful. Many of their offspring still live in the Matanuska Valley, and a few are still on their original farms. Some of the original structures including a church and a barn, have been moved to Colony Village on the Alaska State Fairgrounds at Palmer.
More significant as a memorial are the lush crops flanking the country roads backed by rugged mountains. If you attend the state fair in August, you’ll see Matanuska Valley cabbages weighing in at 75 pounds or more. The Matanuska Glacier, one of Alaska’s largest, can be viewed from Mile 103 on the Glenn Hwy., 58 miles east of Palmer.
–Accessible by road year-round.