Ed Wineck was one of the original pioneers of the Matanuska Valley, pre-dating the Colonist families. In 1936, after some of the original Colonists left, Ed became a replacement Colonist, and was given tract no. 174 near Bodenburg Butte, where he supervised the construction of homes and barns for neighboring families. Ed Wineck and his wife Emma farmed for over 40 years, starting the Valley’s first poultry farm in 1937.
In 1975 the Winecks donated their barn to the Alaska State Fair, but the barn was too wide to pass through either of the narrow steel bridges across the Knik and Matanuska Rivers. It was not until the new Knik River Bridge was built in 1976 that the barn could be moved down the Old Glenn Highway to the Parks Highway, across the Palmer Hayflats and back up the new Glenn Highway to the Fairgrounds. The classic gambrel-roofed Colony barn is now a major feature of the Alaska State Fair, showcasing the Matanuska Colony Project and surrounded by beautiful gardens and flower displays each year.
Trail Comes Out River
George Palmer’s trading station on the Matanuska River was established between 1894-1898* to take advantage of the trails between the Cook Inlet region and the Copper River area. According to Wikipedia: “The indigenous Dena’ina Athabascan name for the river is Ch’atanhtnu, based on the root -tanh ‘trail extends out’, meaning literally ‘trail comes out river’.” (*see Jim Fox’s comment below for a correction to this date.)
In her small book titled Old Times on Upper Cook’s Inlet, Louise Potter describes the early trails through the Valley: “…the Indians must have marked walking trails through the Upper Inlet country
well before 1898 and, after that time, prospectors brushed-out trail after trail, both winter and summer, leading from the coast to the coal and gold mines. Many of these trails were later widened for the use of dog teams and for saddle and pack horses and sleds. Eventually, some even became the government mail routes and, today, are busy roads.”
Louise Potter continues, “A map of the Inlet area, copyrighted in 1899, shows eight such ‘Trails Used by Natives…’” and she describes the one which probably led to the name “trail comes out river”: “A summer trail from old Knik up the Matanuska River, passing ‘Palmer’s Upper House’ (store) and King’s House to Millich Creek and, via Hick’s Creek, Trail Lake, and Nulchuck Tyon Village, to the Copper River (pretty much the route of the present Glenn Highway).”