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Alaska Life

Photos: Musk Ox Farm lifts roof off its Colony-era visitor center

  • Author: Bob Hallinen
  • Updated: June 10, 2019
  • Published June 10, 2019

A crane lifts the roof off of the Colony barn visitors center at the Musk Ox Farm as Xavier Lechleitner helps guide it to its resting place on Thursday. (Photo by Bob Hallinen)

PALMER - The roof came off the Musk Ox Farm’s visitors center on Thursday. The Colony-era barn roof is being salvaged and will be installed atop a new visitors center that will open this fall. It is part of a $1.2 million project, according to Mark Austin, executive director of the Musk Ox Farm.

The new center will have four times as much space as the old barn, and the second floor will showcase the original beams and wood from the old barn roof. A new silo will be built with an elevator inside to access the second floor.

The rest of the old barn will be torn down. The aging concrete floor has cracks and uneven construction, and the walls have significant rot.

The old visitors center was the original Lentz family barn. The Lentzes were members of the original Matanuska Valley Colony from 1935. Families from the Midwest were moved up to the Matanuska Valley to start farms as part of a federal government program.

When the new visitors center is complete, the Musk Ox Farm plans on expanding its operation in the winter, including hosting school groups.

A musk ox grazes in a field as the top of the barn roof cupola is lifted. (Photo by Bob Hallinen)
After a crane lifted the roof off of the Colony barn visitors center at the Musk Ox Farm, workers settle it to its resting place on Thursday, June 6, 2019. (Photo by Bob Hallinen)