Horse Haven Ranch
We’ve loved every minute of our journey
Matanuska Colony Project
Horse Haven Ranch has a remarkable history. It's place in Palmer's history was one of the many reasons we fell in love with the property. It all began in 1935, when President Roosevelt started the federally-funded Matanuska Colony Project to encourage growth in Alaska. Almost 200 families signed up to come to Alaska to start their own colony legacy. This photo is of the colonist's tents set up in what is now, downtown Palmer. A man named Clyde Martin drew this property as one of the colony tracts (tract #40) being dispersed through the Matanuska Colony Project. The tract had nearly 111 acres made up of three lots.
Hard Times Ahead
Times were hard for the colonists. Supplies were limited and expensive. Education and medical were almost non-existent. The colonists accomplised so much for the resources they had. They made highways and built the Matanuska and Knik bridges. Palmer became the center of commerce for the Valley. While the colonists banded together and many survived through, the Martins packed it up that fall and let it go back to the government. In 1936, Replacement Colonists came to Alaska to redraw the farms that were left behind. C.N. and Bertha Perrine drew colony tract #40 and built the colony home we live in today.
The Barn at Horse Haven Ranch
Built in 1948, the Horse Haven Barn has been a landmark in the Palmer community for over 70 years. Part of an original homestead ranch, Horse Haven has seen many phases from a pig farm to dairy farm then as horse boarding and a poulty farm. For almost 20 years, Horse Haven has been owned and operated by the Huntsman Family and together we will have converted this beautiful place to the wedding venue of your dreams. With each year, we have plans to grow and evolve to maximize the full potential of Horse Haven.
Learn More at "Our Story"
All the Bacon
The Perrine's lived and worked the land for several years. They likely were the builders of a much older barn that was built closer the river. If you look, you can see the hole in the top right where the colony home was before they moved it to where it is today. Arthur & Elina Holbrook were the next to add to our history. The Holbrook's moved from Michigan in 1944 and bought colony tract. The Holbrook's raised pigs in the old colony barn by the river and a family in the colony home. At some point, the erosion took that barn and went into the river.
A Marriage of Two Colony Families
Another colonist family, the Falk's, lived and helped colonized the valley. We actually have a Falk lake and a Falk lane in the Butte named after Victor Falk. In 1945, we see the Holbrook and Falk family join through marriage. Juanita Holbrook and Vic Falk Jr were married on June 21. The Holbrook's continued to work the land until it was sold to their son-in-law, Vic Jr. in 1954. At some point in this timeframe, the farm transistioned from a pig farm to a dairy farm. In 1948, they built the iconic barn for dairy cows that we know today. Face it, they are the reason you are here right now.
A Dairy Dream
The Falk's raised their family on the farm and added onto the colony home for their growing needs. In 1962, the Falk's sold the ranch the Doyle McCombs. McCombs then expanded the dairy farm to include 185 cows. He added on the newer barn addition to the back that added 100 feet. He also added several additions to the colony home.
A Barn Turns Red
McCombs went a step farther and ended up subdividing and building a road that runs alongside the ranch to a new neighborhood. McCombs Road actually leads to the parking lot you will be using on your special day. He also painted the yellow tin to the traditional barn red and added a tin roof. Doyle McCombs would go on to work the farm for almost 40 years before deciding it was time to retire.
Horse Haven Ranch
In 2002, The Huntsman's began looking for horse property to move their seven horses to. They met with the McCombs and it was love at first site. They renamed the farm as Horse Haven Ranch. The Huntsman's moved their horses and also opened the ranch for boarding. They would eventually own 25 quarterhorses. After enjoying the horses for years, the Huntsman's have changed their ranch. Now in 2020, Horse Haven Ranch is becoming a wedding venue for everyone to enjoy.
Much of our story and background came from the Palmer Historical Society. We would like to sincerely thank them for all the hard work and time they did researching for us.
For more information: http://www.palmerhistoricalsociety.org/