Counting Barns

Photo by Northern Light Media


The work of editing the book still looms large, but I’m approaching what I think may be a final tally of the barns. I know there are still more to be located, but I resigned myself long ago to the fact that this will not be a comprehensive accounting. There are a few owners who, for legitimate reasons of their own, do not want their barns known, and I’m not the first to encounter this. In the September, 1988 report titled Evaluations of Historic Sites in Palmer, Alaska the notation was made under methodology: “A letter requesting information and permission to document the property was sent to each owner. Several properties were eliminated as the owners either knew that the structure was contemporary or declined permission for inclusion in the study. Approximately 100 permission slips were mailed out and from the original 82 permission slips returned, four denied permission and four were determined not to be historically significant.”

Historical significance is a given with the Colony barns, whatever their state of deterioration or reconstruction. Notation has been made, wherever possible, of barns which no longer exist, having burned, fallen in to neglect and decay, or simply having been dismantled for use of the lumber elsewhere. I have not determined a final count of the number of barns which were originally built, but I’m still optimistic that I’ll find an accounting in the old records.

At this point, with my research phase nearing completion but with weeks of work still to be done, I have 42 barns on my list, with 39 still standing and portions of three others still visible. This is a considerable achievement, as when I began this project the best estimates I could find from knowledgeable sources were not even half that many, and one well-respected Valley historian thought there were no more than a dozen left at best.


One comment on “Counting Barns

  1. Bob says:

    A delightful look into the many varied barns and their images, both past and present, in and around Alaska’s beautiful and historic Matanuska Valley…

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