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Our History

Bodenburg Butte has been the landmark since pre-historic times to view the breathtaking beautyTempColonistsCampAtButte of the land. Athapaskan Dena'ina Indians traveled through the Butte area on a winter trail from Old Knik (Eklutna) to the Knik River, to the Matanuska River and up to the Copper River. According to James Kari, University of Alaska Fairbanks, there was a large Dena'ina village called "Hutnaynut'i," or "Burnt Over," in the Bodenburg area, where Alex Vasily (Eklutna Alex) was born. He was the last shaman of the Eklutna Dena'ina. Remnants of the Ezi family's Fish Camp can still be seen at Jim Creek. “Walking Bill” Ezi used to trek for many years from his home at Eklutna Village to Jim Creek and Friday Creek to fish and hunt and share the bounty of the land with his family.

The first farm was homesteaded in 1917 by John Bodenburg. He moved to the farm with his herd of nineteen cows, fording the river just below the present-day George Palmer bridge. When the old wooden bridge that connected Palmer with Butte, spanning the Matanuska River, was torn out and a cable put across, he lost interest in farming, as there was no practical access to the Palmer railroad.  After he died in 1934, the 160-acre place was purchased by Victor Falk, Sr. .

In 1935, as part of President Roosevelt's New Deal program, 25 tracts in the Butte were settled by the Matanuska Colonists around "Camp 10" along Bodenburg Loop Road, and two tracts north of the Old Glenn Highway near Mile 15. More land was settled by veterans following World War II. Some of these lands are now residential subdivisions, but many of the colonists' tracts are still being farmed for vegetables, potatoes, and hay. The reindeer farm is located on colony land. Most vegetables produced in the Valley for Alaskans are grown on former colony farms.

Several sawmills were active between 1940 and 1970. During the 1940s, the spruce trees in the Jim Creek area were logged and used for mine shaft support at he gold mines in the Hatcher Pass area. Most of the trails in the area originated from logging activities.

In the late forties, the first concrete block plant in the Valley plant was established by Al King on Bodenburg Loop Road. Most of the concrete houses in downtown Palmer were built with the blocks he and his family manufactured.

The Old Glenn Highway from Palmer to the junction of the New Glenn Highway on the Eklutna Flats was built in 1942 as the final link of the Alaska-Canada Highway from the lower forty-eight states to Anchorage. Since completion of the New Glenn Highway, connecting Anchorage with Palmer, the Old Glenn “mountain road” is now an alternate route, winding through the Butte community. On this narrow road without shoulders it was too dangerous for residents to walk or bike. After two fatal accidents and requests from residents a separated, non-motorized path was built in the mid-80. On foot, on a horse, or on a mountain bike, this 10-mile path makes it possible to get from Palmer all the way to Knik River.