John and Diana are traveling around the country with a 37-foot RV and an 18-year-old cat. This is their story.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
The visitor center at Palmer has quite a beautiful garden. A lot of spring flowers are blooming, and some of the summer flowers also seem to have gotten a good start. Below is a picture of a scotch rose shrub which is located in a corner of that garden. I has a very beautiful and fragrant flower.
Palmer is known for its vegetables which grow quite large, maybe the same magic works for the flowers. The town is the only Alaskan community that developed primarily from an agricultural community. The growing season averages 100 to 118 days a year with long hours of sunshine. At the visitor center we saw a film which presented the story of the Matanuska Valley Colony. In 1935 the town became the site of one of the most unusual experiments in American history. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration, one of the many New Deal relief agencies created during Franklin Roosevelt's first year in office, planned an agricultural colony in Palmer. Families were chosen from Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, 203 of them all total. Those families arrived in May 1935 and had only three months to get roofs over their heads and crops planted. Each family was given 40 acres and a loan of $3,000. The failure rate was high, and many of the families returned to their home states. The long cold winter months took its toll as well as disease. At the time the colony was getting started, the religious care of the colonists was assigned to the Presbyterian Church. A log church was 1936 and additions to it have been built since. It is known as "Church of a Thousand Trees". While touring the town we stopped at the church. The wood interior is quite beautiful, and conveyed to me a feeling of peace and warmth. We plan to worship there tomorrow. When I took this picture people were starting to gather in the church for a wedding.