Mat-Su Valley Historic Park or Site
Historic Park or Site
Don’t miss the old trapper’s cabin at Byers Lake. Most Sourdoughs — that means old-time Alaskans — don’t even know it’s there. Hidden in trees along the lakeshore trail, the old Beeman cabin stands as a reminder of simpler times. Peek in the windows and imagine living there all winter. Now part of Denali State Park, it’s an easy 10-minute walk from the main parking lot.
Surprise! This bridge over the Susitna River appears without warning, so if you want to stop and see this huge drainage, slow down and pull off the road at either end. Alaskans call it the Big Su. We fish it, paddle it, and snow machine its frozen braids. Bush pilots even navigate by this river. The Susitna River winds its way over 313 miles of Southcentral Alaska; this old railroad bridge crosses the water on the eastern edge of Denali… ...more
History, fun, and massive portions of food come together at this institution, which was built over 3 years starting in 1914. Aside from stopping by for a bite to eat, you can book accommodations at the Talkeetna Roadhouse. Choose from a variety of cozy rooms in the main roadhouse and wake up the smell of fresh baked goods from the Kitchen in the morning. Or, for a more private experience, book one of the cabins out back or the Museum Apartment ...more
Right next to the Talkeetna Historical Society, this original “trappers cabin” gives you an interior look at traps, antique tins, a washtub, and furs, offering a sense of how these pioneers lived. And Olé is quite the character: he came to Alaska in 1916 and worked as a logger, surveyor, and gold miner. His grandkids still attend the local schools.
Opened in 1923 to accommodate travelers on the new Alaska Railroad, the small inn found fame (or notoriety) quickly: President Warren G. Harding came for lunch, and died just a few days later. Today, the hotel is comprised of six recently renovated rooms as well as a bar and live music venue. You’ll hear everything from jazz and folk to open mic nights and serious rock-n-roll. At the very least, do a walk-through to enjoy some local color and… ...more
DescriptionLocated between the Chugach and Talkeetna Mountain ranges, The Alpine Historical Park provides community members, as well as visitors from far or near, a look back in time to understand the heritage and cultures of the early settlers of this area. The Park is a place for family and community members, often being used for gatherings, parties, business events, community picnics and many other events, as there is no community center in… ...more
At its peak, the Independence hard-rock gold mine was home to 206 workers and 16 families who lived high above tree line. Digging and blasting, these workers recovered 140,000 ounces of gold before the mine shut down in the wake of World War II. There are 1.5 miles of paved walkways throughout the site, with informational placards for a self-guided tour.
What was it like to be an Alaskan scientist back in the 1940s? This site, on the south side of Palmer’s downtown, near Gulkana and E. Fireweed streets, will give you a pretty good idea. Back then, this two-story cement building, the eight simple cottages, and the arboretum were built by the University of Fairbanks and used by researchers studying how to increase productivity in cold-weather crops.
Palmer may look like it grew organically, like any other town. But it was actually designed by the government as a planned agricultural community. In fact, Palmer was part of FDR’s New Deal Resettlement Projects during the Great Depression: More than 200 families volunteered to move to Alaska to try farming in the Last Frontier!
If you have some serious time and serious energy, take an adventure: hike the 20 miles out the Chase Trail to see what’s left of a luxury hotel built as a layover for the railroad journey between Seward and Fairbanks.
In the 1950s, an Anchorage family worked tirelessly at their dream of building a ski resort here at the base of Gunsight Mountain. They built a small chalet and erected a rope tow. But financing was always a problem. Business did not boom. Today, the chalet is all that’s left of their efforts.