HISTORY OF PYRAH'S PIONEER PEAK FARM
Most people would swear that the Pyrah’s have been on the farm since the beginning of time, but they weren’t the first ones to live on the property under the watchful eye of Pioneer Peak. The property was originally part of the John Loken homestead and sold to the ARRC for the colony project. This project was used to bring homesteaders to Alaska for agriculture. The tract first went to colonist Arthur Moses but was transferred to Joseph Sieber on June 29, 1935. While painted several times over and refurbished on the inside, the log house is the original home built by Joe Sieber that first year. The house contains more than 300 logs of peeled spruce. The fact that it is still standing is a testament to the ingenuity of the times. (As are the crooked door frames and flooded window wells!) The old colony barn was still standing as well when the Pyrah family arrived, but within a few years the south wall fell at the feet of a stunned son and shortly thereafter was torn down in all its magnificent glory.
The Pyrah family moved to the farm in November of 1979 to run it as a welfare farm for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was run primarily to provide food for the church’s welfare system and volunteer church members aided work. In 1988, the church decided to discontinue the welfare farm program in Alaska and the Pyrah’s took out an option to lease the 277-acre parcel. By this time, the farm had its roots planted in the u-pick business, where customers could come to the farm and pick their own vegetables for a reasonable price. The Pyrah’s decided to keep the format and continue to produce an ever-expanding variety of vegetables. The families stewardship over the farm has lasted more than 40 years and has seen an incredible amount of change. These changes have helped shape the farm into the haven it has become. A place for community to gather, strangers from around the globe to meet, and a place to raise a family.
For more information about the history of the
Matanuska Valley and the Colony Project, including more awesome pictures,
follow the picture link below: