Alaska Gold Rush History & Genealogy

George Palmer had a several trading posts in the Matansku Valley by 1880. Around 1900 he had a store known as, "Palmer's Upper House," a boat-accessible trading post that was located on the east side of the Matanuska River, just upriver from today's Matanuska River Bridge on the Old Glenn Highway. George Palmer's store catered to Dena'ina Athabascans who traded with the Ahtna from Copper River. He also had a cabin where the city of Palmer is now.

The US Army sent an expidition to the Palmer area in 1997 to experment with farming in the valley. Gold had been discovered in the Talkeetna Mountains which in 1898 brought a serg of prospectors and miners to the valley. They became the first settelers. Commerical deposits of coal had been discovered as early as 1894. The coal fields were an imprortant factor in determining the route of the government railroad in 1915.

From the depression of the 1930s came the Matanuska Colony project that brought some 200 families to farm the Palmer area. For details of the colony and the history of Palmer see the book: "We shall be Remembered" by Evangeline Attwood.



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