We’re not so good with street names in Palmer. I think it is because we kinda know where we are and we don’t need “any darn street-sign or address” to tell us where we’re going. Instead in Palmer we use landmarks ALOT. “Oh, It’s by the Post Office,” “It’s across from the Museum,” “It’s up the street from the Police Department.” “It’s behind the skatepark,” or “You know, it’s down the side road behind Bishops.” These vagaries of language and direction have become more and more evident.
New Folks need Directions—There’s many new people in our Palmer sphere of influence. Some aren’t aware of traditional landmarks or building references. So they ask directions. Official geographical addresses are helpful in these conversations—instead of saying “On Main, beside the blinking light at the four-way.” This latter intersection description may be perfectly accurate but it isn’t clear to everyone.
Let’s learn Palmer Street-Names—Evergreen is the direct road into town, which has not a single evergreen on it. It is the home of City Hall, Dairy Queen, Silva Insurance, and Chevron. South Alaska is the main street paralleling the railroad track but it also goes by the name of South Colony. This main road has the shops, museum, Jenski’s and Valley Hotel and Sunrise Grill. South Valley is on the east side of the tracks and has Museum, Library, Poppy Lane, Humdingers, 203 Kombuchu, Police Department, State Troopers, skatepark, and Grow Palmer food gardens as residents. Dahlia is the address of the of the backside of the Palmer Library, Palmer Ale House, Alaska Farm Land Trust and the Mat Su Borough building.
E. Arctic Street is the major east/west road in growing uptown area of Palmer. Back Country Bike & Ski store, the new car wash and Pizza Delphi are anchors on this street. There are lots of new businesses on this north side of town. If you go further past the airport, cemetery, over the river (and through the woods,) eventually you will make it to Clark Wolverine, Smith, Plumley, Bodenberg, Butte and Knik River Road.
The opposite side of E. Arctic is the Bogard Extension, which goes past the Palmer High School and eventually past Colony High School. On the other southside of town, Margaret is the new frontage road that borders the Glenn Highway. The Inner Springers and Outer Springers are a bit confusing unless you understand the history which built Palmer.
Palmer’s Geographic Footprint—is far larger than the City limits of Palmer. The Palmer Area of Influence includes the Regional Medical Center, the College, The Recycling Center, the Landfill, the animal shelter, Hatcher Pass, Reflections Lake, Buffalo Mine, Sutton, Butte, Knik, Crevasse Moraine, the hay-flats and everything in-between. The easiest way to define the Palmer Area of Influence is to look at the 99645 zip-code with a few extensions.
This Week in Palmer
Wednesday—January History Night with the Palmer Historical Society at the Moose Lodge
Thursday—Ribbon-cutting at the Mat Su Regional Campus for Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit; Seed Starting at the Farm on Trunk Road; Palmer Entrepreneurs Group; Cold Country Bluegrass at Klondike Mike’s Bar; Fishhook Community Council Meeting
Saturday—Women’s March Mat Su; UFC at Klondike Mike’s
Sunday—Learn to Curl at the MTACenter across from the Middle School
Monday—Rev. Martin Luther King Day is usually celebrated at the Senior Center; Palmer Friends of Library Meeting; and Active Soles Happy Run
Barbara Hunt is both Palmer writer and artist. She works hard to keep the robust pulse of Palmer, Alaska. She shares the good stuff in the weekly Palmer Alaska Buzz Column in the Mat Su Valley Frontiersman and daily on the Palmer Alaska Buzz Facebook Group. Her “Palmer Buzz Community Calendar” is available at Palmer shops and the Palmer museum. Contact at email@example.com or text 907.315.3222