SOUTH SIDES OF HOUSE, WELL HOUSE, AND BARNRebarchek Farm, Rebarcheck Road, Palmer, Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Survey number: HABS AK-140. Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.
The Raymond Rebarchek Colony Farm is a historic farm associated with the Alaska Rural Rehabilitation Corporation’s Matanuska Colony project, established with help of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA). Built withe the help of the WPA between 1935 and 1937, the complex is located on the original 40 acres allotted to Mr. Rebarcheck when he drew tract # 52 from a hat in 1935. The plot consists of a 25-acre hayfield, 7 acres in pasture, one acre in natural vegetation, two acres of house and barn yard, and five acres of forest. While the construction of the house was started by Mr. Rebarchek, WPA workers completed the structure according to WPA construction standards.
A registration form of the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) describes the characteristics and the history of the farm: “The two acres of house and barn yard is the site for ten buildings, four silos, a large and pleasant yard around the house, and fenced barn yard. The house, which was altered from its original design with the addition of a large two storey porch on the south side and stucco to cover the log exterior, in 1953, is in excellent condition. It has a full basement, open except for a 6’8″ root cellar with concrete walls in the north- west corner, with concrete walls, and is accessible through a four-foot chute at the west side and a stairway from the ground level floor in the approximate center of the basement. The basement is used for the same purposes it was built: the storage of canned goods and produce for the winter. The ground floor of the house consists of four rooms, with a closed-in porch at the south entrance. […] The north west quarter of the house consists of the bedroom and bath, accessible from the living room. The very center of the ground floor is used as the stairway up to the second floor, beneath which is the stairway to the basement. The second floor is divided into three bedrooms.”
The same NRHP form describes the house construction process, and the complicated collaboration between the WPA construction crew and the farm owner: “The Ray Rebarchek house was the first built in the colony, perhaps because Mr. Rebarchek had already begun a house made of round spruce logs in his house site. None of the colonists were allowed to build their own buildings, this work was accomplished by temporary workers under the WPA program, and as Mr. Rebarchek was one of the close neighbors of the WPA camp, Camp Perkins, it didn’t do at all for him to outwork them. The foremen came to his building site and informed the colonist that they were going to build his house but that they couldn’t build it as he was doing it. The plans called for three-sided logs, so they dismatled his half-up walls and sawed them. However, they sawed them any and every width, which when they attempted to build with their regular timbers, proved to be unsatisfactory. So, for a third time, with six inch three sided spruce logs this time, the walls rose. The house was not square, but by this time the men and foremen was so impatient that they continued the walls. One night Mr. Rebarchek went to his house a-building, and with the use of some timbers and some ingenuity, squared his house; the next morning, the crew arrived and continued building, never the wiser.”
National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for the Raymond Rebarchek Colony Farm, accessed on June 20, 2017. Wikipedia Page for the Raymond Rebarchek Colony Farm, accessed on June 20, 2017. Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress Images for the Raymond Rebarchek Colony Farm, accessed on June 20, 2017.
Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on June 20, 2017.
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