Creator
USDA Soil Conservation Service
Time Period
1950-1968
Entries
22

SCS (Soil Conservation Service) Collection

Palmer Museum of History and Art
Palmer Museum of History and Art
Open Finding Aid
About the​​​ 
SCS (Soil Conservation Service) Collection

This collection of photos from the USDA Soil Conservation Service includes 1,151 images made by local agents covering activities from the late 1940' through early 1970's. Most are high quality 4" x 5" prints, often with negatives and mostly with documentation of location, date and other information. Content includes a wide range of farming-related activities, soil erosion and land uses in the Matanuska Valley. Also included are photos of a number of soils and snow surveys conducted in other parts of the state.

Image shows an oblique view of Anchorage looking west from above the Pine Street intersection with the Glenn Highway.
Image shows an oblique view of Anchorage looking west from above 3rd Avenue at about the intersection with Reeve Boulevard.
Image shows a winter scene of several carrots in foreground sticking up from the soil indicating wind eroded the soil from around them. A black hat is nest to the carrots for scale. A typical Colony barn is in background across a barren field. Patches of snow are evident in the background.Farm identified as that of Al Saxton.
Image shows Conservation Surveyor Cliff Marcus, evaluating a soil sample he has extracted with his auger as he maps soil types on the Kenai Peninsula.  Cliff worked out of the State Soil Conservation Service office in Palmer for many years, traveling to various areas of the state to identify and map the soils for their agricultural potential.
Image shows a wire fence in foreground, numerous high tree stumps with several cows intermingled in the middle ground. Two typical Colony barns and other buildings are beyond with Bodenburg Butte and other mountains and forest in background. Caption: "Cows in stump pasture. One of the steps in land clearing."
Image shows a man, identified as Max Sharrod, digging potatoes with his Ford tractor pulling a potato digger on his farm in north Palmer. Sharrod's house is visible behind two large cottonwood trees and a grain field is visible in middle ground. Trees, Talkeetna mountains and clouds are in the background.
Image shows wind erosion of frozen roadside soil exposing stumps of trees previously buried by air-born soil deposited by winds off of the Matanuska River out of view to the left.
Image is a low oblique view of several junk cars laid out in a curved line on a river gravel bar with logs between them. Extensive gravel expanse and the river channel are evident with mountains in background. Caption: "Butte area, shows cars as laid out for streambank control."
Image shows a tractor pulling a grain binder in a grain field, cutting and bundling the grain, identified as barley. The foreground exhibits stubble where the grain had been cut, with numerous harvested bundles on the ground. One man is on the tractor, another on the binder at the edge of the uncut grain beyond. Roof tops of several buildings are visible beyond the grain field. Heavy forest is in background with clouds above. Location is identified as Art Thompson's farm on Scott Road just north of Palmer.
Image shows a summer season fenced in foreground with a farmstead in middle ground at the base of Bodenburg Butte. Mountains are in background. Caption: "Leonard William's farm. Brome fields with Bodenburg Butte in background."
Image shows a collection of structures including a large metal container with an exhaust tube and fan. A high-sided truck is backed up to the structures. A fuel barrel on a stand is evident, as is a power pole and power lines near a wooden shed. Location is identified as the Barney Hollembaek farm south of Palmer. Mountains are in background.
District Conservationist Lew Hanks reviews a land use map with Matanuska Valley farmer and Colonist Henry LaRose during the winter of 1953.  Temperature was noted to be minus 30 degrees.
District Conservationist Lew Hanks reviews a land use map with Matanuska Valley farmer and Colonist Henry LaRose during the winter of 1953.  Temperature was noted to be minus 30 degrees.
Image is an oblique aerial view looking northwest across the Matanuska Valley with the braided channel of Matanuska River in foreground. The City of Palmer, Palmer Airport, and surrounding farms are evident beyond the river. Land clearing patterns are apparent. Talkeetna Mountains are in background.
Image is an oblique aerial view looking northwest across the Matanuska Valley with the City of Palmer in foreground. The fairgrounds and surrounding farms are evident. The Glenn Highway passing through Palmer, and the Palmer-Wasilla Road are evident. Land clearing patterns are apparent. Talkeetna Mountains are in background.
Image shows Palmer farmer Max Sherrod in his packing shed preparing and crating vegetables for shipment to market.  Vegetables shown include carrots, cauliflower, and lettuce.  This produce was grown with the aid of irrigation.
Image is a southerly view of a mountain valley containing numerous buildings associated with the Independence Gold Mine. Several vehicles are visible. A small stream is evident as are roads leading up to the mine and to Hatcher Pass on the right. The photo was taken from the area developed for skiing at the time.
Image shows a winter scene looking north along Alaska Street from the sidewalk in front of the 49 Club Bar. The bar sign is prominent as is a sign for Charlie's Bar B-Q. Blowing snow is evident. Plowed snow berm at the sidewalk is prominent. Three people are visible and several automobiles. The railroad depot is in middle ground as is the co-op garage, water tower, powerhouse, and a flatcar on the tracks. Talkeetna Mountains are in background.
Image is of the Soil Conservation Service staff at the Palmer office posing in front of a car.
Image shows the Soil Conservation staff at Palmer during the summer of 1958 posing in front of the Palmer office.  Identified as (l to r): Flavia Marcus, Wanda Somerville, Dupree Sanders (detailed from Texas), James DeMent (detailed from Louisiana), Allan Linn, Edna Wehking, Sam Rieger, Cliff Marcus.  Not shown is Charles Willson who took the picture.  The two detailers were here for the season to conduct soil surveys.
Image shows the Soil Conservation staff at Palmer during the summer of 1958 posing in front of the Palmer office.  Identified as (l to r): Flavia Marcus, Wanda Somerville, Dupree Sanders (detailed from Texas), James DeMent (detailed from Louisiana), Allan Linn, Edna Wehking, Sam Rieger, Cliff Marcus.  Not shown is Charles Willson who took the picture.  The two detailers were here for the season to conduct soil surveys.
Image shows a man, identified as Bob Welch, standing next to a portable sawmill in a birch forest setting. The mill carriage and circular saw blade are obvious. A stack of lumber is evident in foreground and logs to be sawn are visible. Two fuel barrels are evident, one with a pump attached. Background is composed of a forest stand. largely composed of slender birch trees. Information associated with the photo indicates this was the only operation in Alaska specializing in producing birch lumber at the time.
Image shows three men, identified as soil scientists (l to r) Bobby Hinton, Dr. Sam Rieger, and Frank Carlisle, inspecting a soil sample drawn from the ground by a soils probe tool.  Headquartered in Palmer, they were reviewing soils surveyed and mapped on the Kenai Peninsula. The soil survey is the basic tool of land-use planning in Alaska.  SCS technicians use the survey to advise homesteaders on which land is most suitable to clear and the best use for each soil type on the homestead.
Image shows a grass field with a pond in foreground. A farm tractor, pump and pipes are at the edge of the pond. A man attends the tractor with a pickup truck behind. A collection of barns, houses, silos, and Quonset huts are in background at the edge of the forest. Caption: "Pumping equipment and sprinkler system from pothole. Leonard Moffitt farm."
Image shows an oblique view of Anchorage looking west from above the Pine Street intersection with the Glenn Highway.
Title

Anchorage Overview 1

Creator

USDA Soil Conservation Service

Subject

Anchorage, Alaska

Description

Image shows an oblique view of Anchorage looking west from above the Pine Street intersection with the Glenn Highway.

Location

Anchorage, Alaska

Image shows an oblique view of Anchorage looking west from above 3rd Avenue at about the intersection with Reeve Boulevard.
Title

Anchorage Overview 2

Creator

USDA Soil Conservation Service

Subject

Anchorage, Alaska

Description

Image shows an oblique view of Anchorage looking west from above 3rd Avenue at about the intersection with Reeve Boulevard.

Location

Anchorage, Alaska

Image shows a winter scene of several carrots in foreground sticking up from the soil indicating wind eroded the soil from around them. A black hat is nest to the carrots for scale. A typical Colony barn is in background across a barren field. Patches of snow are evident in the background.Farm identified as that of Al Saxton.
Title

Carrots Exposed

Creator

Tom Day, USDA Soil Conservation Service

Subject

Farming

Description

Image shows a winter scene of several carrots in foreground sticking up from the soil indicating wind eroded the soil from around them. A black hat is nest to the carrots for scale. A typical Colony barn is in background across a barren field. Patches of snow are evident in the background.Farm identified as that of Al Saxton.

Location

Two miles north of Palmer, Alaska

Image shows Conservation Surveyor Cliff Marcus, evaluating a soil sample he has extracted with his auger as he maps soil types on the Kenai Peninsula.  Cliff worked out of the State Soil Conservation Service office in Palmer for many years, traveling to various areas of the state to identify and map the soils for their agricultural potential.
Title

Cliff Marcus

Creator

T.H. Day

Subject

Cliff Marcus, Conservation Surveyor, evaluates a soil sample as he maps an area’s soil types

Description

Image shows Conservation Surveyor Cliff Marcus, evaluating a soil sample he has extracted with his auger as he maps soil types on the Kenai Peninsula. Cliff worked out of the State Soil Conservation Service office in Palmer for many years, traveling to various areas of the state to identify and map the soils for their agricultural potential.

Location

Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Image shows a wire fence in foreground, numerous high tree stumps with several cows intermingled in the middle ground. Two typical Colony barns and other buildings are beyond with Bodenburg Butte and other mountains and forest in background. Caption: "Cows in stump pasture. One of the steps in land clearing."
Title

Colony Farm 5

Creator

Tom Day, USDA Soil Conservation Service

Subject

Farm

Description

Image shows a wire fence in foreground, numerous high tree stumps with several cows intermingled in the middle ground. Two typical Colony barns and other buildings are beyond with Bodenburg Butte and other mountains and forest in background. Caption: "Cows in stump pasture. One of the steps in land clearing."

Location

Two Miles South of Palmer, Alaska

Image shows a man, identified as Max Sharrod, digging potatoes with his Ford tractor pulling a potato digger on his farm in north Palmer. Sharrod's house is visible behind two large cottonwood trees and a grain field is visible in middle ground. Trees, Talkeetna mountains and clouds are in the background.
Title

Digging Potatoes 2

Creator

T.H. Day USDA Soil Conservation Service

Subject

Farming

Description

Image shows a man, identified as Max Sharrod, digging potatoes with his Ford tractor pulling a potato digger on his farm in north Palmer. Sharrod's house is visible behind two large cottonwood trees and a grain field is visible in middle ground. Trees, Talkeetna mountains and clouds are in the background.

Location

Palmer, Alaska

Image shows wind erosion of frozen roadside soil exposing stumps of trees previously buried by air-born soil deposited by winds off of the Matanuska River out of view to the left.
Title

Erosion 1

Creator

Lew Hanks

Subject

Wind erosion of frozen soil

Description

Image shows wind erosion of frozen roadside soil exposing stumps of trees previously buried by air-born soil deposited by winds off of the Matanuska River out of view to the left.

Location

Palmer, Alaska

Image is a low oblique view of several junk cars laid out in a curved line on a river gravel bar with logs between them. Extensive gravel expanse and the river channel are evident with mountains in background. Caption: "Butte area, shows cars as laid out for streambank control."
Title

Erosion Control

Creator

Cliff Marcus, USDA Soil Conservation Service

Subject

Erosion Control Measures

Description

Image is a low oblique view of several junk cars laid out in a curved line on a river gravel bar with logs between them. Extensive gravel expanse and the river channel are evident with mountains in background. Caption: "Butte area, shows cars as laid out for streambank control."

Location

Near Bodenburg Butte, Alaska

Image shows a tractor pulling a grain binder in a grain field, cutting and bundling the grain, identified as barley. The foreground exhibits stubble where the grain had been cut, with numerous harvested bundles on the ground. One man is on the tractor, another on the binder at the edge of the uncut grain beyond. Roof tops of several buildings are visible beyond the grain field. Heavy forest is in background with clouds above. Location is identified as Art Thompson's farm on Scott Road just north of Palmer.
Title

Farm 5

Creator

Cliff Marcus USDA Soil Conservation Service

Subject

Farming

Description

Image shows a tractor pulling a grain binder in a grain field, cutting and bundling the grain, identified as barley. The foreground exhibits stubble where the grain had been cut, with numerous harvested bundles on the ground. One man is on the tractor, another on the binder at the edge of the uncut grain beyond. Roof tops of several buildings are visible beyond the grain field. Heavy forest is in background with clouds above. Location is identified as Art Thompson's farm on Scott Road just north of Palmer.

Location

Palmer, Alaska

Image shows a summer season fenced in foreground with a farmstead in middle ground at the base of Bodenburg Butte. Mountains are in background. Caption: "Leonard William's farm. Brome fields with Bodenburg Butte in background."
Title

Farm 6

Creator

Cliff Marcus, USDA Soil Conservation Service

Subject

Farm

Description

Image shows a summer season fenced in foreground with a farmstead in middle ground at the base of Bodenburg Butte. Mountains are in background. Caption: "Leonard William's farm. Brome fields with Bodenburg Butte in background."

Location

Bodenburg Butte, Matanuska Valley, Alaska

Image shows a collection of structures including a large metal container with an exhaust tube and fan. A high-sided truck is backed up to the structures. A fuel barrel on a stand is evident, as is a power pole and power lines near a wooden shed. Location is identified as the Barney Hollembaek farm south of Palmer. Mountains are in background.
Title

Grain Dryer

Creator

Cliff Marcus, USDA Soil Conservation Service

Subject

Farm

Description

Image shows a collection of structures including a large metal container with an exhaust tube and fan. A high-sided truck is backed up to the structures. A fuel barrel on a stand is evident, as is a power pole and power lines near a wooden shed. Location is identified as the Barney Hollembaek farm south of Palmer. Mountains are in background.

Location

Palmer, Alaska

District Conservationist Lew Hanks reviews a land use map with Matanuska Valley farmer and Colonist Henry LaRose during the winter of 1953.  Temperature was noted to be minus 30 degrees.
Title

Lew Hanks and farmer LaRose

Creator

Lew Hanks

Subject

Conservationist Lew Hanks consults with farmer LaRose

Description

District Conservationist Lew Hanks reviews a land use map with Matanuska Valley farmer and Colonist Henry LaRose during the winter of 1953. Temperature was noted to be minus 30 degrees.

Location

Matanuska Valley, Alaska

District Conservationist Lew Hanks reviews a land use map with Matanuska Valley farmer and Colonist Henry LaRose during the winter of 1953.  Temperature was noted to be minus 30 degrees.
Title

Lew Hanks and farmer LaRose

Creator

Lew Hanks

Subject

Conservationist Lew Hanks consults with farmer LaRose

Description

District Conservationist Lew Hanks reviews a land use map with Matanuska Valley farmer and Colonist Henry LaRose during the winter of 1953. Temperature was noted to be minus 30 degrees.

Location

Matanuska Valley, Alaska

Image is an oblique aerial view looking northwest across the Matanuska Valley with the braided channel of Matanuska River in foreground. The City of Palmer, Palmer Airport, and surrounding farms are evident beyond the river. Land clearing patterns are apparent. Talkeetna Mountains are in background.
Title

Matanuska Valley Air View 5

Creator

T.H. Day, USDA Soil Conservation Service

Subject

Matanuska Valley

Description

Image is an oblique aerial view looking northwest across the Matanuska Valley with the braided channel of Matanuska River in foreground. The City of Palmer, Palmer Airport, and surrounding farms are evident beyond the river. Land clearing patterns are apparent. Talkeetna Mountains are in background.

Location

Palmer, Alaska

Image is an oblique aerial view looking northwest across the Matanuska Valley with the City of Palmer in foreground. The fairgrounds and surrounding farms are evident. The Glenn Highway passing through Palmer, and the Palmer-Wasilla Road are evident. Land clearing patterns are apparent. Talkeetna Mountains are in background.
Title

Matanuska Valley Air View 6

Creator

T.H. Day, USDA Soil Conservation Service

Subject

Matanuska Valley

Description

Image is an oblique aerial view looking northwest across the Matanuska Valley with the City of Palmer in foreground. The fairgrounds and surrounding farms are evident. The Glenn Highway passing through Palmer, and the Palmer-Wasilla Road are evident. Land clearing patterns are apparent. Talkeetna Mountains are in background.

Location

Palmer, Alaska

Image shows Palmer farmer Max Sherrod in his packing shed preparing and crating vegetables for shipment to market.  Vegetables shown include carrots, cauliflower, and lettuce.  This produce was grown with the aid of irrigation.
Title

Max Sherrod and vegetables

Creator

Lew Hanks, Soil Conservation Service

Subject

Max Sherrod packing vegetables for shipment to market

Description

Image shows Palmer farmer Max Sherrod in his packing shed preparing and crating vegetables for shipment to market. Vegetables shown include carrots, cauliflower, and lettuce. This produce was grown with the aid of irrigation.

Location

Palmer, Alaska

Image is a southerly view of a mountain valley containing numerous buildings associated with the Independence Gold Mine. Several vehicles are visible. A small stream is evident as are roads leading up to the mine and to Hatcher Pass on the right. The photo was taken from the area developed for skiing at the time.
Title

Mine 3, Independence

Creator

Cliff Marcus, USDA Soil Conservation Service

Subject

Mine

Description

Image is a southerly view of a mountain valley containing numerous buildings associated with the Independence Gold Mine. Several vehicles are visible. A small stream is evident as are roads leading up to the mine and to Hatcher Pass on the right. The photo was taken from the area developed for skiing at the time.

Location

North of Palmer, Alaska

Image shows a winter scene looking north along Alaska Street from the sidewalk in front of the 49 Club Bar. The bar sign is prominent as is a sign for Charlie's Bar B-Q. Blowing snow is evident. Plowed snow berm at the sidewalk is prominent. Three people are visible and several automobiles. The railroad depot is in middle ground as is the co-op garage, water tower, powerhouse, and a flatcar on the tracks. Talkeetna Mountains are in background.
Title

Palmer Street 14

Creator

USDA Soil Conservation Service

Subject

Palmer

Description

Image shows a winter scene looking north along Alaska Street from the sidewalk in front of the 49 Club Bar. The bar sign is prominent as is a sign for Charlie's Bar B-Q. Blowing snow is evident. Plowed snow berm at the sidewalk is prominent. Three people are visible and several automobiles. The railroad depot is in middle ground as is the co-op garage, water tower, powerhouse, and a flatcar on the tracks. Talkeetna Mountains are in background.

Location

Palmer, Alaska

Image is of the Soil Conservation Service staff at the Palmer office posing in front of a car.
Title

SCS Palmer staff 1953

Creator

Ray Kent

Subject

Palmer SCS staff in 1953

Description

Image is of the Soil Conservation Service staff at the Palmer office posing in front of a car.

Location

Palmer, Alaska

Image shows the Soil Conservation staff at Palmer during the summer of 1958 posing in front of the Palmer office.  Identified as (l to r): Flavia Marcus, Wanda Somerville, Dupree Sanders (detailed from Texas), James DeMent (detailed from Louisiana), Allan Linn, Edna Wehking, Sam Rieger, Cliff Marcus.  Not shown is Charles Willson who took the picture.  The two detailers were here for the season to conduct soil surveys.
Title

SCS Staff 1958

Creator

Charles Wilson, Soil Conservation Service

Subject

SCS Staff at Palmer, summer 1958

Description

Image shows the Soil Conservation staff at Palmer during the summer of 1958 posing in front of the Palmer office. Identified as (l to r): Flavia Marcus, Wanda Somerville, Dupree Sanders (detailed from Texas), James DeMent (detailed from Louisiana), Allan Linn, Edna Wehking, Sam Rieger, Cliff Marcus. Not shown is Charles Willson who took the picture. The two detailers were here for the season to conduct soil surveys.

Location

Palmer, Alaska

Image shows the Soil Conservation staff at Palmer during the summer of 1958 posing in front of the Palmer office.  Identified as (l to r): Flavia Marcus, Wanda Somerville, Dupree Sanders (detailed from Texas), James DeMent (detailed from Louisiana), Allan Linn, Edna Wehking, Sam Rieger, Cliff Marcus.  Not shown is Charles Willson who took the picture.  The two detailers were here for the season to conduct soil surveys.
Title

SCS Staff 1958

Creator

Charles Wilson, Soil Conservation Service

Subject

SCS Staff at Palmer, summer 1958

Description

Image shows the Soil Conservation staff at Palmer during the summer of 1958 posing in front of the Palmer office. Identified as (l to r): Flavia Marcus, Wanda Somerville, Dupree Sanders (detailed from Texas), James DeMent (detailed from Louisiana), Allan Linn, Edna Wehking, Sam Rieger, Cliff Marcus. Not shown is Charles Willson who took the picture. The two detailers were here for the season to conduct soil surveys.

Location

Palmer, Alaska

Image shows a man, identified as Bob Welch, standing next to a portable sawmill in a birch forest setting. The mill carriage and circular saw blade are obvious. A stack of lumber is evident in foreground and logs to be sawn are visible. Two fuel barrels are evident, one with a pump attached. Background is composed of a forest stand. largely composed of slender birch trees. Information associated with the photo indicates this was the only operation in Alaska specializing in producing birch lumber at the time.
Title

Sawmill 3

Creator

Lew Hanks-USDA Soil Conservation Service

Subject

Sawmill

Description

Image shows a man, identified as Bob Welch, standing next to a portable sawmill in a birch forest setting. The mill carriage and circular saw blade are obvious. A stack of lumber is evident in foreground and logs to be sawn are visible. Two fuel barrels are evident, one with a pump attached. Background is composed of a forest stand. largely composed of slender birch trees. Information associated with the photo indicates this was the only operation in Alaska specializing in producing birch lumber at the time.

Location

Near Knik, Alaska

Image shows three men, identified as soil scientists (l to r) Bobby Hinton, Dr. Sam Rieger, and Frank Carlisle, inspecting a soil sample drawn from the ground by a soils probe tool.  Headquartered in Palmer, they were reviewing soils surveyed and mapped on the Kenai Peninsula. The soil survey is the basic tool of land-use planning in Alaska.  SCS technicians use the survey to advise homesteaders on which land is most suitable to clear and the best use for each soil type on the homestead.
Title

Soil Scientists

Creator

Art Hawk, Soil Conservation Service

Subject

Soil scientists evaluate a soil sample

Description

Image shows three men, identified as soil scientists (l to r) Bobby Hinton, Dr. Sam Rieger, and Frank Carlisle, inspecting a soil sample drawn from the ground by a soils probe tool. Headquartered in Palmer, they were reviewing soils surveyed and mapped on the Kenai Peninsula. The soil survey is the basic tool of land-use planning in Alaska. SCS technicians use the survey to advise homesteaders on which land is most suitable to clear and the best use for each soil type on the homestead.

Location

Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Image shows a grass field with a pond in foreground. A farm tractor, pump and pipes are at the edge of the pond. A man attends the tractor with a pickup truck behind. A collection of barns, houses, silos, and Quonset huts are in background at the edge of the forest. Caption: "Pumping equipment and sprinkler system from pothole. Leonard Moffitt farm."
Title

Sprinkler Irrigation

Creator

Cliff W. Marcus, USDA Soil Conservation Service

Subject

Farming

Description

Image shows a grass field with a pond in foreground. A farm tractor, pump and pipes are at the edge of the pond. A man attends the tractor with a pickup truck behind. A collection of barns, houses, silos, and Quonset huts are in background at the edge of the forest. Caption: "Pumping equipment and sprinkler system from pothole. Leonard Moffitt farm."

Location

Near Palmer, Alaska

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