Matanuska Colony History Videos

Mrs. Carl Ericson of Minnesota, shown in her neat kitchen in the camp tent. (photo by Willis T. Geisman, Mary Nan Gamble Collection ASL-P270-225 Alaska State Library)

Mrs. Carl Ericson of Minnesota, shown in her neat kitchen in the camp tent. (photo by Willis T. Geisman, Mary Nan Gamble Collection ASL-P270-225 Alaska State Library)

The Colony Barns are inextricably tied to the colorful history of the 1935 Matanuska Colony Project, described at the American Public Television website as: “the most unusual and controversial of the many New Deal programs designed to help ordinary citizens crushed by the Great Depression.”

The definitive documentary on the Colony, Alaska Far Away, explains in more detail: “In the midst of the despair of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal gave over 200 struggling Midwestern farm families an extraordinary opportunity: the chance to start over on the Alaskan frontier. ‘Alaska Far Away’ tells the story of this bold government experiment, and the families who found themselves thrust into the national spotlight along the way.”

There are many sources of information about the Matanuska Colony, and also several interesting videos on YouTube. The first three in this group are actual film clips of the Matanuska Colony from the Alaska Digital Film Archives at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks:

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