|IRONWOOD DAILY GLOBE
August 11, 1936 page
Colonists Hope For Statehood
Dream of Many Conflicts With
Discontent of Others in Valley.
Aug. 11--(AP)--Alaska as the 49th state,
with the Matanuska colony one of the foundation stones, is the dream
of many of this green and fertile valley's modern pioneers.
At the other extreme of views here
is an undoubted current of discontent and dissatisfaction with the
"corporation," discontent which in the first 15 months of the
colony's existence has sent one out of every four families back to
their middle western homes.
The divergent views fail to
interrupt the busy life of the colony. The "newness" has not
worn off the cabins and buildings and the carefully laid-out
community center. Crops are flourishing and livestock herds
increasing in number.
President Charles E. Bunnell, of
the University of Alaska urged statehood as the colonists' goal in a
"That should be your aim," he told
an outdoor assembly.
In Producing Phase
"But how can people hope for
statehood without the ability to feed themselves? One dollar's worth
of goods produced, in this territory is worth many dollars' worth of
some other resource.
"You are building for big things."
The colony, in the words of Ross L.
Shelly, general manager, has reached the "producing and processing
phase" after passing through the "construction period." It was
15 months ago yesterday that the first colonists arrived here,
fleeing from a drought-stricken middle-west.
At present colonists are engaged in
the sale of crops. Next week some of them will go to the
mountains for the hunting season.
Starting September 4 a four-day
agricultural fair will be held. The new Anchorage-Matanuska
highway will be opened the first day.
The truck garden raised by Walter
Pippel, formerly of St. Paul, Minn. has been a "show spot" in this
section of the colony. Since the first of June, Matanuska
produce has been on sale at Anchorage, 34 miles south of here.
Model Center Built
"We have accomplished a great deal
since our arrival," Shelly said today.
For example, a model community
center, as well as homes, barns and chicken houses for 173 families
have been built. The community center houses a modern school,
hospital, recreation hall, trading post, warehouse, power plant,
creamery, canning plant and repair shops and quarters for the
"Except for the schoolhouse and the
recreation hall, the building will be entirely self-liquidating
through rental and use charges.
"Most of the unadjusted colonists
have returned to the United States. There is a ready market in
Alaska for all these people can produce."
On the other hand, some discontent
remains among the colonists and finds voice, anonymously.
One colonist had said he believed there was as much dissatisfaction
and discontent now as a year ago, but that because the colonists are
more scattered, some several mules from the community's center,
there has been no organized opposition such as appeared last summer.
Complain of Mismanagement
The discontent is based on
complaints of mismanagement, such as that of colonists who had land
ready to plow this spring and it was not touched, or that other land
was not fertilized and treated with lime to cure its sourness, as
had been promised.
"Sen. Henrick Shipstead, of
Minnesota, was here only four hours and what could he, or others on
such short official visits, learn about real conditions here?" other
colonists have asked.