Matanuska Lodge No. 7, originally of the Grand Lodge of Washington, first received dispensation to work on December 11, 1950, and was chartered as Matanuska Lodge No. 293 on June 20, 1951.
On February 7, 1981, the M.W. Grand Lodge of F. & A.M. of Alaska opened its Constitutional Communication in Ample Form at 10:30 am. Resolutions were adopted and Matanuska Lodge was re-chartered by Grand Lodge of Alaska, the charter for the lodge having been assigned a number according to the ages of the lodges, as Matanuska Lodge No. 7.
Matanuska No. 7, situated in Palmer, enjoys an excellent program of Masonic ritual, education, and fellowship; Mat 7 is a favorite destination lodge amongst Alaska’s Masons.
Phone: (907) 745-4732
PO Box 297
Palmer, AK 99645
Location & Meetings:
Matanuska No. 7 meets on the First Tuesday of each month, at 7:30pm. Dinner at 6:30pm.
It is kindly requested that you contact Matanuska No. 7 in advance of your visit to Palmer and the Lodge.
We look forward to seeing you!
The first people to live in the Matanuska Valley, where Palmer is located, were the Dena’ina and Ahtna Athabaskans. These people moved throughout the area, living a subsistence lifestyle, and trading with other native groups. In the early 1890’s, an entrepreneur named George W. Palmer built a trading post on the Matanuska River, near present-day Palmer. The town was later named after Palmer.
In the late 19th century, the U.S. government began to take interest in the Matanuska coal fields located north of Palmer. This interest sparked financiers to consider constructing the Alaska Central Railroad in 1904. The advent of World War I created a need for high-quality coal to fuel U.S. battleships, and by 1917 the US Navy had constructed rail from the port of Seward to the Chickaloon coal deposits. At the end of World War I, the U.S. Navy distributed land in the coal fields to war veterans and additional land was opened to homesteading. Farmers, miners, and homesteaders began to populate the area. The Palmer Post Office was opened July 6, 1917, under the name of Warton. With railroad accessibility, new markets for agriculture began to open up for farmers in the Matanuska Valley.
In one year, Palmer transformed from a mere whistle stop rail siding to a planned community with modern utilities and community services. Families from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin traveled by ship and then by train to Palmer, arriving in May 1935. Upon their arrival they were housed in a tent city during their first Alaskan summer. Each family drew lots for 40-acre (160,000 m2) tracts and their farming adventure began in earnest. Many of their descendants still live in the area and there are still many operating farms in the Palmer area, including the VanderWeele and Wolverine farms.
In 1971, the National Outdoor Leadership School started operating wilderness education courses in the nearby Talkeetna and Chugach mountain ranges from a local historic farmhouse, the Berry House, which is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to an agrarian heritage, the colony families brought with them Midwest America’s small-town values, institutional structures, and a well-planned city center reminiscent of their old hometowns in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Many of the structures built are now in a nationally recognized historic district. Construction of the statewide road system and the rapid development of Anchorage has fueled growth around Palmer. Many Palmer residents commute 45 minutes to work in Anchorage.
Palmer is the location of the annual Alaska State Fair, where Palmer’s agricultural spirit lives on. The Alaska State Fair holds contests for largest vegetable in several categories, and many national and even world records have been recorded at the fair, with the cabbage, pumpkin, radish, spinach, and lettuce categories usually dominating local interest.
Palmer Museum of History and Art, hosts a log cabin Visitor Information Center in the heart of downtown that entertains more than 35,000 visitors each year. The Palmer Museum of History and Art is located in the Visitor Information Center and offers visitors a chance to view artifacts from Palmer’s history, provides maps to historical places to see, and stocks guidebooks for more information on local attractions.
The Church of a Thousand Trees, a couple of blocks away from the Visitor Information Center is the United Protestant Church (aka The Church of a Thousand Trees), a Presbyterian church. It was built in 1936-37 and is one of the 17 structures that contribute to the National Register’s Matanuska Colony Historic District.