The Stamp Cache: Creativity in Palmer July 10th, 2009

Categories: Businesses

I asked Linda Pendergrass, a resident of Alaska for the last 40 years and owner of the Stamp Cache, why people should come to the Stamp Cache instead of Walmart or Joann’s Fabrics. “Personal care, for one thing,” she said. “A lot of people go to Walmart or other chain stores, buy something and don’t really know how to use it properly.” Here, if you have a question, she has an answer. She’ll show you not only how to use the item correctly, but you can also view countless examples of cards and papers with the effect displayed.

The Stamp Cache offers something you can find nowhere else in the state of Alaska. Great Impressions puts out a different Stamp of the Month item each month and you can find it right here!. Linda offers classes in card-making using that specific stamp, while teaching you different techniques. They even have a variety of other stamps that
match that specific Stamp of the Month theme. July’s theme is Fairy Tales.

Different classes are offered every month for
mini-scrapbooks and Stamps by Judith projects. To view to the entire list of classes and times, visit the Stamp Cache’s website,

There’s a large collection of Alaskan-themed stamps, including a stamp declaring “Hello from Palmer!”. Bears, wolves, moose and more are found on this display, waiting for you to stamp them on a card for out of state family and friends.
Not only does the Stamp Cache carry stamps, you also can find a huge variety of printed, patterned and colored papers, markers, chalk and alcohol inks, punches and

If Anchorageites drive all the way out, it must be great! Linda told me that a large percentage of her customers actually come from Anchorage, because the Stamp Cache is so unique and has a different, better variety than the few stores there. But why not help local businesses and show a fellow Palmeranian our support?

Don’t feel like you have a creative side? Not ‘artsy fartsy’? No problem! Take one of the classes and you may discover a different side of yourself! If you need some ideas, ask Linda, she’s full of creativity and knowledge! August’s theme is Wildflowers…

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Vagabond Blues June 30th, 2009

Categories: Businesses, Restaurants and Cafes

Vagabond Blues is one of my favorite places in downtown Palmer. It’s a great cafe with fresh food and delicious drinks, located on S Alaska St, in the Koslosky building. I go there and work on my computer all the time; they offer wifi through MTA.

Not only is Vagabond Blues a great coffeehouse, it’s also a well-known musical venue. With concerts ranging in genre from bluegrass to metal, V-Blues does its best to keep the music as diverse as our community. The performances are reasonably priced, some are even free. Many local artists are known to come and play as well as groups from out of state.

Soups, salads, breads, all made here in Alaska, if not in V-Blues’ own kitchen, are just part of the menu. They use as much local produce as possible, and offer vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan options as well as “normal” food. If I want something more than a cookie, I’ll usually buy a cup of soup and a hunk of fresh bread for around $6. The soup is always hearty, flavorful and filling and the bread, delectable.

All ages come to Vagabonds to chill. Some order full meals, others (like me) get something simple like an americano and a jumbo chocolate chip cookie, made fresh each morning right there in the kitchen. You can find groups of students from the local schools in the large booths, laughing and talking about the day at school. Elderly couples and families hold meetings and bible studies earlier in the mornings. The atmosphere is very relaxed; with the radio on all the time (but turned down low), smiling baristas and giggling babies of patrons that make you feel at home.

Drop in for a tasty morsel, stay an hour, chat with friends, stay late! It’s open until 8 Mon-Sat and 6 on Sundays. Vagabond Blues is part of what makes Palmer, Palmer. It’s a comfy, slow-paced, community gathering place. Come be a part of it!

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Colony House Museum June 27th, 2009

Categories: History

The Colony House Museum is run by the Palmer Historical Society. It’s located on Elmwood Ave, across from the big, white borough building. The home belonged to Irene and Oscar Beylund, two original colonists of the Matanuska colony.  It was turned over to the Palmer Historical Society in 1998 to maintain and operate it. Children of the original colonists give tours Tuesday through Saturday, from 10-4.

The price for a tour is $2 for adults, $1 for children. I paid the $2 yesterday and entered for the first time. Apparently, if you’ve gone through elementary school here in Palmer, you’ve visited. But I was homeschooled till highschool, so this was my first.

Upon entering, one of the proprietors greeted me and showed me maps of the divided homesteads, each of 40 acres. She pointed to one, #189 and told me that was her family’s homestead, out near the butte. It was larger than 40 acres because some of it was unuseable. The ARRC (Alaska Rural Rehabilitation Corp) wanted each family to have 40 acres of workable land for agriculture. She also showed me a poster-size photo of Palmer taken in 1938. It was a lot more spread out then!

The living room is decorated with donated furniture from the 30’s and 40’s era and some original to the home. A large, upright piano takes up one wall. Each colonist family was allowed to bring 2,000 lbs of goods and personal items to Alaska with them. So, the owners of the piano lifted up the top lid and filled it full of clothes; they didn’t have any suitcases.

The kitchen is cheery with yellow cabinetry and a huge stove/oven sits opposite. The back entry has a milk separator in one corner; for separating the cream from the milk after milking the cows morning and evening. There are 3 bedrooms and a washroom. Old books, games and photos are found throughout the home, each donated by the families of original colonists.

I really appreciated the opportunity to look back into what life may have been like in my own town +70 years ago. The proprietor was full of humorous and interesting stories of life back then. She was just three when her family moved here. It was really neat to hear first-person what that life was like, and how people lived.

I definitely encourage you to go and visit the Colony House Museum. It’s worth far more than just $2 dollars; it’s our history, our heritage.

Photo 1 is a plaque recognizing Palmer’s outstanding seniors, class of ’38. Photo 2 is a nurse’s uniform worn by one of the nurses at the first clinic in Palmer. Photo 3 is of the Colony House’s kitchen. Photo 4 is of the child’s room. All photos are expandable if clicked on.

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Walk around Palmer Pt. 1 June 26th, 2009

Categories: Around Palmer, History


Have you ever driven or walked through Palmer, and wondered what all those old buildings were, and if they are still used? Have you ever been to the Colony House Museum? Have you ever wondered why there was a fenced-in bell near the library?

Today I walked around Palmer and photographed many of those buildings, as well as inquired of their history. Here is what I saw and learned.
All photos are expandable if clicked on.

Palmer DepotPalmer DepotPalmer Depot

                          1                                                     2                                             3
UAF Ag ResearchPalmer Pre-Trial FacilityPalmer Water Tower
                          4                                                     5                                             6

Photo 1: Palmer Train Depot
Photo 2:
Borough Green, Old Mat. Colony Trading Post (Now home of The Red Beet), Palmer Water Tower in Background
Photo 3: Colony Inn and Restaurant
Photo 4: UAF Agriculture Research in the Matanuska Valley
Photo 5: Palmer Courthouse/Pre-Trial Facility
Photo 6: Palmer Water Tower, Old Matanuska Maid buildings
Borough Building - FrontBorough Building - BackBorough Gym
                          7                                                     8                                             9

Photo 7: Front of Borough Building
Photo 8:
Back of Borough Building, Lazy Mountain to the left, Byers Peak in the center.
Photo 3: Borough Gym

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Palmer: Friends when you need them most June 20th, 2009

Categories: Around Palmer, Palmer People

Today I headed out to the Friday Fling again. As I drove down Colony Way looking for a parking space (the library and visitors center parking lots as well as the streets were full) with my window down, a lady standing in front of her vehicle called out to me.

“Hello, do you have a cell-phone? I have locked myself out of my car!” I told her yeah, I just needed to pull over. I found a parking space in front of the Colony Inn and walked back to the woman. “My babies are in the car. I put the stroller in the back, with the keys in it, closed the hatch and somehow my two year old pushed the lock button and locked me out!” Sure enough, I looked and there was a cute little two  year old boy scrambling around in the van pushing buttons just for fun. A little 3 month old slept unknowingly in his car carrier in the back seat.

I handed the lady my cellphone and waited as she called the 1-800 number on the car door for assistance. Her oldest completely ignored me as I tapped on the window, trying to get his attention. The roadside service told the woman they would call the police and have them send an officer.

Not one, not two, but three officers showed up in two cop cars. They walked over and talked with the woman, each trying to get the two year old inside to hit the Unlock button. One of the officers pulled out some badge stickers and tried to coerce him to come to the door.  The closest they got was for him to hit the Lock button. Again.

Three women walked by and saw what was going on. One of them had just bought finger puppets at one of the booths at the Friday Fling. She handed two to the poor woman. “Put these on and try to get his attention,” she told her. No go. Another one of the three grabbed her bag of kettle corn she had got at the Kettle Corn booth and tried to bribe the boy with that. That didn’t work either. Finally the woman with the finger puppets told the woman with the van to keep them, and the ladies wished her good luck and left.

Next a man came by, noticed the problem, went back to his truck and returned with a metal coat hanger. He bent it different ways and then attempted to stick it down the window. He worked at it for a couple minutes and gave up saying “these newer cars were made just so you couldn’t do this.” Meanwhile, the two year old found a book inside the diaper bag on the front seat and proceeded to read it, oblivious to the six or seven adults surrounding the car.

Finally the officers gave the woman two options: let them break the window or call a locksmith/taxi. Taxis, they said, often have locksmith tools/abilities. She opted for the taxi service because they would probably cheaper. She called her husband once more with my cellphone and thanked me thoroughly for my help.

I left, came back a half hour later and saw the van was gone.

Palmer may be growing population-wise, but its peoples hearts are growing along with the town. People truly care about one another and help each other out, even total strangers.

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