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Palmer Yearbooks 1933-1957

About the Palmer Territorial School


The intent of this project is to record the names (and photos where available) of the administrators, teachers, students, coaches, custodians, cooks, clerks, bus drivers and others who attended the Palmer Territorial (Central) School in Palmer, Alaska.  This includes a period from January 1935 to the 1960s  when classes ceased to be held there.
Most of the names and photos included here were drawn from school’s annual yearbooks, “The Polaris”, published from 1937 to 1941 and 1945 to the 1960s.  There are several limitations of this source.  For one, no yearbooks were published for the years 1942 through 1944. Names were not always spelled accurately; custodians, cooks, and others were not always listed; and for many of those years the lower classes and their teachers were not included.
In the 1950s the high school students moved to the new Palmer High School and the yearbook thereafter included only the seventh & eighth grade students attending the Central school.


The class of 1933 was the second class to graduate from the Matanuska school.

“During the fall and part of the winter of 1935-36, students of Palmer attended school in various places such as a discarded railroad coach placed in the town, private homes in rural areas, and the Butte Hall southeast of Palmer.

In January of 1935 the pupils moved into the school using what classrooms were finished while the carpenters still worked on the building.  Approximately $91,000 for the labor and building material was appropriated by the federal government and was later sold to the Territory of Alaska under the supervision of the Board of Education for the sum of $1.00.

The building was begun in the late summer of 1935 under the supervision of superintendent Victor Chapman and assistant Henry Kolish.  Nearly all the workers were from Alaska and many were living in Palmer.

Adjoining the school is the gymnasium which was built at the same time as the school but belongs to the MVFCA.

When the school was built it was equipped with a heating system which also furnishes heat for the gym.  In return the school was able to use the gym for all scholastic activities, until 1947 when it was leased to the school for one year.

The school is approximately 57’ x 135’ and has 28 classrooms.  The home economics laboratory, shop room, chemistry laboratory, music room and one class room are in the basement, all other class rooms are on the other two stories of the building.  When it was built many thought it was much too large for the size of Palmer but as the population grew it became too small for the number of pupils attending.

In the fall of 1936 the school was ready for classes under superintendent Harold L. Thuma who remained in that office until the fall of 1944.  Since 1936 many improvements have been made each year, such as better lighting, more library books, new playground equipment and finishing for the floors.”—from the 1948 school yearbook.

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