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Matanuska Valley pioneer. : (Palmer, Alaska) 1935-1936
Place of publication:
Palmer, Alaska
Geographic coverage:
  • Palmer, Alaska  |  View more titles from this: City State
Jack Allman
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Aug. 22, 1935)-v. 1, no. 6 (Dec. 19, 1936).
  • English
  • Alaska--Palmer.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01224264
  • Palmer (Alaska)--Newspapers.
sn 97060034
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Matanuska Valley pioneer. August 22, 1935 , Image 1


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The Matanuska Valley pioneer

The Matanuska Valley pioneer was a weekly publication started by the Alaska Rural Rehabilitation Corporation (ARRC), which reported on the Matanuska Valley colony from 1935 to 1936. The ARRC hired Jack Allman, a veteran newsman, to run the paper. It was originally a 4-page mimeographed tabloid that was distributed for free by the ARRC to all of the colonists. Allman worked out of a small tent for the first several months, but in December of 1935 he went independent with the newspaper and moved to a larger tent with more room for his growing operation. Allman purchased an old press that had been used by the Skaguay News in the late nineteenth century. He also installed an old powder horn in the front of his office that people could drop questions and complaints into, and Allman would respond to these messages in the next issue of the Pioneer.

The press Allman bought was a source of constant trouble that began causing delays and requiring repairs as soon as he had installed it, as it frequently broke or had metal snap from trying to print an issue. These problems caused the publication to miss some issues and also led to a running series of costly repairs. In one of the first issues with the new press, Allman ran out of letter molds and had to intentionally misspell words just to get the issue to print.

Taking the paper independent had meant that colonists had to start subscribing instead of getting free issues from the ARRC. Outside interest in the colony began to wane after the first few months of its existence, and many of the early construction workers employed in building the settlement had left by 1936. In the penultimate issue Allman conceded that the booming early days of the colony were over and that the valley would trend towards "slower, but steady, growth," although he admitted that some "business houses may have a hard time hanging on waiting for that growth." With a dwindling subscription base and a faulty printing press, Allman finally called it quits on December 19, 1936. His final column, entitled "It Can't Be Done," explained that with the shrunken subscription base the local advertisers could not be expected to keep the publication going, and Allman had decided to leave the Matanuska Valley and find work elsewhere.

Provided by: Alaska State Library Historical Collections