Friday, 28 August 2015

Soldotna Homestead Museum

It was 3 o’clock when we arrived and as the museum closes at 4.00 p.m., we only had time for a whistlestop tour.
The museum is quite small.   There were several log cabins, one of which was built by a single man

and one built by a man bringing his wife up.

Not hard to tell the difference is it?!

A food store, restored by the high school, was only about half as high as it would normally be, I forget exactly why, but I think it was so that it was easier for visitors to see.
There was a small one room school house that was in use in the Slikok Valley until the late 1950’s early 1960’s.

The volunteer who showed us round told us told us a little about Soldotna, and how the town was created after WWII when land was given free to veterans to homestead.
Homsteading in Soldotna was very different from homesteading in the lower 48.   There to retain the homestead, you were required to build a house and live in it for 5 years, grow and sell a crop so that you had a receipt for the sale of a crop grown on at least 20 acres.

In Soldotna to retain the homestead you were required to build a house and live in it for 7 months.   Veterans could get 4 parcels of land as long as each corner touched and were only allowed to have adjoining parcels.
To get their homestead, one couple took the train to Moose Pass and walked over the mountains, it took them 5 days to reach Soldotna.   There were no trails, but there was some sort of ‘cat’ (I forgot to ask, but assume it’s a trail created by a mountain lion or some other animal) trail that they followed.
At the time of our visit two of the original settlers were still alive, one lady who is 93 and still lives in Soldotna and another lady who now lives in Seattle.
One of the buildings had lots of exhibits, including these unusual masks.
We were definitely relieved this was an exhibit and not real, when I stood beside it I only just about reached its paws!

Sadly, because we arrived late our visit was a bit rushed and we wished we’d had more time, but it was our last chance to visit, so we’re glad we didn’t just pass it by.

Have fun, we are!