The colorful paintings and whimsical musings of artist Kristy Tracy
Friday, July 5, 2013
The fertile valley 41 miles northeast of Anchorage was forever changed during the Great Depression when President Franklin D. Roosevelt offered 203 lottery winners, struggling on welfare in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, 30 acres, a house and a barn if they would colonize the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. For a $3,000 low interest loan they could make a fresh start farming the Last Frontier. Three years later 60% of these "winners" had abandoned the project, unable to endure the hard work, mosquitoes, long, cold winters and the separation from civilization. But the 40% who remained settled the Mat-Su Valley and cleared the land, worked the farms, raised their families, were fruitful and multiplied. There are about 150 of these farms still operating around Palmer, Alaska. Each picturesque barn still standing is a testament to the spirit and perseverance of the original colonists.