Parks/Archer Barn

The Parks/Archer barn is a familiar landmark in the Bodenburg Loop Road area, being two Colony barns placed end-to-end. In this photo the barn on the left is the Parks barn, built on tract no. 189, and the barn on the right is the Archer barn, moved from tract no. 193. (Photos by Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media)

The Parks/Archer barn is a familiar landmark in the Bodenburg Loop Road area, being two Colony barns placed end-to-end. In this photo the barn on the left is the Parks barn, built on tract no. 189, and the barn on the right is the Archer barn, moved from tract no. 193. (Photos by Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media)

The Parks and Archer barns were built on adjoining 80 acre tracts, numbers 189 and 193, respectively. Lynn Sandvik explained to the author, “They moved the Archer barn north and put them together and did quite a bit of work on them about 20 years ago, for some kind of centennial something, but then they forgot about them again.”

In a letter to the author, Valley historian Jim Fox related a little of the Parks family history from an interview with daughter Bonita Parks Strong: “Many of the farmers in the Butte had sheep, selling their wool to Pendleton in Washington or Minnesota woolen mills, often getting blankets and winter clothes in exchange along with some cash. The Parks family had a big flock which they drove up into the mountains to the north in the summer, an 18 to 20 mile trip…”

In front of the Archer barn, the Parks barn can be seen in the distance, along with Bodenburg Butte. Glen Archer’s great grandmother Lillian Post wrote near it, “Perle Archer thinks he can handle his big bull. One day it took many to handle him.”

In front of the Archer barn, the Parks barn can be seen in the distance, along with Bodenburg Butte. Glen Archer’s great grandmother Lillian Post wrote near it, “Perle Archer thinks he can handle his big bull. One day it took many to handle him.”

Glen Archer, a grandson of Colonists Perle and Dorothy Archer, wrote to the author, “My sister and I grew up listening to our father, Floyd Archer, tell stories about growing up in the Matanuska Valley and homesteading there and how his parents, Perle and Dorothy Archer, moved the family from Wisconsin to Alaska. He was only 18 months old… there were six children including my father in the family. My father still has lots of memories of life in Alaska, going to school, playing with the Colony kids, and all the hard work and long winters.”

The barn in the foreground is the Otto Peterson barn, the one in the center of the photo would be the Archer barn. The Parks barn was just out of the photo on the left side.

The barn in the foreground is the Otto Peterson barn, the one in the center of the photo would be the Archer barn. The Parks barn was just out of the photo on the left side.

“About 12 years ago, I inherited from my father the old family album filled with pictures of the homestead and family in Alaska.  Among the pictures is a picture of the Archer barn, more pictures of the chicken coop, farm animals, the fields, as well as the house.  All of the pictures appear to have  been  taken  by  my  great grandparents (Dorothy’s parents) during their trip to visit Perle, Dorothy and the six kids, in 1939, which would have been well after Perle and Dorothy were selected as part of the 200 plus families and moved to Palmer.”

In another letter to the author and friends, Glen Archer shared some of the family history after a visit with his father: “Dad said yesterday that the original house was a nice fairly large two story log house which had a full basement. It had been insulated with what he remembers as oakum, which he described as fibers saturated with a tar like substance. Somehow, two or three years after being built, his older siblings Betty and Bob one day caught the insulation on fire and the house burned to the ground. Dad said that grandpa (Perle) was very sad about the whole experience as he had really put his heart and soul into building that place and was proud of it. According to Dad, Grandpa was one of the few individuals who truly knew how to build and taught others to build. He was a general contractor for decades after they returned to the states. Grandpa also apparently started a sawmill which employed others so they could have access to milled lumber and was instrumental in building Fort Richardson.”

Parks/Archer barn. Photo by Stewart Amgwert, Wasilla.

Parks/Archer barn. Photo by Stewart Amgwert, Wasilla.

This post is an excerpt from the new book The Matanuska Colony Barns, by Helen Hegener, published by Northern Light Media, May 2013.

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Map of Barn Locations

This map, which is similar to one which appears in the book, The Matanuska Colony Barns, shows the approximate locations of most of the remaining Colony barns. Adapted from an original map of the Colony tracts, which can be seen as 40 and 80-acre delineations, this map shows the roads as they existed circa 1935, rather than today’s highways and side roads. In the book the locations are notated and cross-referenced with each barn described in the book (a few barns located here do not appear in the book).

BarnsStarredMap

A few notes about the  locations, shown as stars on this map: All locations are approximate. The Larsh-Wilson barn, which later became the Linn-Breeden barn and was moved to the Alaska Museum of Transportation and Industry (MATI) north of Wasilla, is shown in its original location, as the current location is off the map. The Ed Wineck barn, which was moved to the Alaska State Fairgrounds in 1976, is shown in both the original location near Bodenburg Butte and at the fairgrounds. Various other barns are shown where they are now, but their original locations may be miles from there; a surprising number of these huge structures have been moved around the Valley for one reason or another. Sometimes, as with the Bailey and Loyer barns, they’ve only moved a few hundred feet from where they were built in 1936. Most of the barns are visible from public roads, but please remember to be courteous when visiting and always respect private property signs. The map was created by Helen Hegener. ©2013 Northern Light Media, all rights reserved.

Barn Perspectives

Ferber Bailey barn, on original Colony tract number 152, at Moffit Road and the Glenn Highway, as seen from across the hayfields on the west end of Scott Road. The house is the original Colony house built in 1935.

The Virgil Eckert barn, one of the few barrel vault roofed barns, has been transformed into a home. It is on the original tract number 100, just south of Scott Road and the Glenn Highway.

The Virgil Eckert barn, one of the few barrel vault roofed barns, has been transformed into a home. It is on the original tract number 100, just south of Scott Road and the Glenn Highway.

The Ising-Dredseth double barn on Wes Grover's farm on the southeast end of Outer Springer Loop Road, as seen from across his hayfield to the west.

The Ising-Dregseth double barn on Wes Grover’s farm on the southeast end of Outer Springer Loop Road, as seen from across his hayfield to the west. Wes Grover also owns the Venne original Colony barn.

Loyer-Lake barn, original tract no. 62, on Outer Springer Loop Road, as seen from Robley Street.

Loyer-Lake barn, original tract no. 62, on Outer Springer Loop Road, as seen from Robley Street.

 

Raymond Griese barn, tract number 77, Outer Springer Loop Road

Raymond Griese barn, tract number 77, Outer Springer Loop Road

 

DePriest barn on Outer Springer Loop Road, note the addition/extension to accommodate the unusual side-entry doorway.

DePriest barn on Outer Springer Loop Road, note the addition/extension to accommodate the unusual side-entry doorway.

 

 

Just Some Barn Photos

Today I’m just happy that this book is finished, looking great, and will soon be available (May 10 is the official publication date), so I’m sharing a few photos, some are in the book, some aren’t…

Claire Patten barn, tract no. 49, just south of Palmer

Claire Patten barn, tract no. 49, just south of Palmer. Photo by Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media

Vasanoja barn, was on tract no. 79, finally fell in 2006. On Kalwies Road off the Springer System south of Palmer.

Vasanoja barn, was on tract no. 79, finally fell in 2006. On Kalwies Road off the Springer System south of Palmer. Photo by Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media

Puhl barn, tract no. 99, at the corner of Scott Road and the Glenn Highway, north of Palmer

Puhl barn, tract no. 99, at the corner of Scott Road and the Glenn Highway, north of Palmer. Photo by Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media

Barry barn, tract no. 140, on Campbell Road off the Palmer Fishhook Road, north of Palmer.

Barry barn, tract no. 140, on Campbell Road off the Palmer Fishhook Road, north of Palmer. Photo by Barbara L. Hecker

Kerttula barn, tract no. 134, fell in 2006, was at the corner of Palmer Fishhook and the Glenn Highway, north of Palmer. Photo by Dave Rose

Kerttula barn, tract no. 134, fell in 2006, was at the corner of Palmer Fishhook and the Glenn Highway, north of Palmer. Photo by Dave Rose

The Parks-Archer double barn, tract no. 189, on Bodenburg Loop Road southeast of Palmer. Photo by Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media

The Parks-Archer double barn, tract no. 189, on Bodenburg Loop Road southeast of Palmer. Photo by Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media

The Book Cover

BarnCover2After going through hundreds of photos and dozens of front and back cover layout options, here is a first look at the final design for the cover of the new book.

The author and Earl Wineck talking about barns. (photo: Susan Patch)

The author and Earl Wineck, Jr. at the 2012 State Fair, talking about barns. (photo: Susan Patch)

The barn on the front is the Earl Wineck barn at the Alaska State Fairgrounds. This is a photograph I took at the end of the Fair last summer. At the invitation of my friend Joanie Juster, I spent many delightful hours in the Wineck barn, talking about the history of the barns, and watching the documentary film Joanie co-produced on the Matanuska Colony Project, Alaska Far Away, as she shared it each day. I gave a couple of slideshow presentations on the barns, and I was delighted to meet many wonderful people who also appreciate the old barns, including Earl Wineck, Jr., who talked his dad into donating their barn to the Fairgrounds.

Bailey/Estelle barn, 2008 (photo by Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media)

Bailey/Estelle barn, 2008

The Wineck barn also appears as the background image on the back cover. The upper image on the back cover is also my photograph, the Ferber Baily barn on Marsh Road, now owned by Richard Estelle.

NLMBarnLogoThe bottom image is the new logo for Northern Light Media, made from one of the art prints which my sister, Susan Patch, created from a photograph I took last summer of the Raymond Greise barn on Outer Springer Loop Road, south of Palmer.

The book is in the final stages of production and will be published the first week of May, 2013.

Arndt/Swift Barn

The Arndt barn still stands alongside the Palmer-Wasilla Highway. (photo by Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media)

The Arndt barn still stands alongside the Palmer-Wasilla Highway. (photo by Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media)

The Lawrence Arndt family came to Alaska from Wisconsin, and Mr. Arndt drew tract number 190, on what was then called the Wasilla-Finger Lake-Palmer Road, today known as the Palmer-Wasilla Highway. The 1940 census showed Mr. Arndt living with his wife Etta, their 18-year-old daughter Helen; his mother Emma Arndt, and three male lodgers: Edward Church, and Glenn and Rollo Kinty. 

The unusual Arndt barn was one of the handful of barns which had a soaring vaulted roof design, with a high ridge peak, quite different from the standard 32′ x 32′ gambrel roof design of most of the Colonist’s barns. Also known as the curved or Gothic roof, the curvature was built up of boards bent to the desired radius and nailed together to provide adequate strength to support the huge roof structure. Like the standard Colony barns, the bottom section was built with three-sided logs, set on spruce pilings. The inside of the barn was partitioned into areas of various sizes, and a storeroom under the steep stairwell which accessed the hayloft.

Inside the Arndt barn (photo by Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media)

Inside the Arndt barn (photo by Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media)

The Manuska-Susitna Borough’s 1985 book, Knik Matanuska Susitna: A Visual History of the Valleys, noted: “The Lawrence Arndt colony farm has been familiar to Valley residents for years as Arabian Acres where owners Robert and Gladys Swift raised purebred Morgan horses. The colony barn was especially designed like the Monroe, Eckert, and Puhl barns, with a high vaulted roof that varied from the standard colony gambrel. During the colony era, the Arndt house was the site of the neighborhood telephone.”

Kathy (Roark) Laing, who lived for several years on the adjoining farm with a similar vault roofed barn, wrote that she remembered there being “…three farms in a row…”    ~•~

 

Matanuska Colony Barns Art

The Earl Wineck barn, originally built near Bodenburg Butte, is a landmark feature at the Alaska State Fairgrounds. Image by Susan Patch from a photograph by Helen Hegener/Northern Light Media.

The Earl Wineck barn, originally built near Bodenburg Butte, is a landmark feature at the Alaska State Fairgrounds. 

The beautifully photogenic Matanuska Colony barns lend themselves well to artistic expression, and a series of barn images, created by Susan Patch from photos which will appear in the forthcoming book, The Matanuska Colony Barns, are available online at Fine Art America

Six barn designs are currently available: the Wineck barn at the Alaska State Fairgrounds; the Bailey barn, which is on the National Register of Historic Places; the Venne barn, which is part of the RG Farm on the Outer Springer Loop Road; the Greise barn on the Springer System; the Barry barn on Campbell Road; and the Breeden barn at the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry, north of Wasilla. More Colony barn images will soon be added to the series.

FineArtAmerica.com takes care of the printing, framing, matting, packaging, shipping, and delivers “ready-to-hang” artwork. Each image is also available on greeting cards. Take a few minutes to browse the beautiful images!