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MATANUSKA COLONISTS

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The Matanuska Colony was originally part of Roosevelt's New Deal plan to help Americans recover from the Great Depression, through massive public works projects. Two hundred and three families from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan were chosen to be part of this Alaska project because it was felt that they could better cope with a move to a similar climate; because they had experience in trades necessary to construct the new settlement and because they had an extremely high percentage of residents on social assistance programs at that time. The town of Palmer, Alaska was chosen as a central base for this project because it was on the Alaska Railroad and was only 50 miles north of Anchorage.

 Below you will see four bronze plaques (listing the original colonists).  These plaques were erected in the town of Palmer, Alaska (1985) to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Matanuska Colonists Project.
 

 

 

 

Many of these families could not stand the hardships of primitive Alaska and they went back home. 
Many took advantage of their new beginnings and remained (and thrived) in Alaska.

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