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Settlers' dreams realized

City celebrates homestead spirit

Posted: Monday, July 19, 2004

Soldotna, Alaska, was founded on the dreams of a few determined homesteaders who believed that the turquoise waters of the Kenai River would be the perfect place to start a community.

That homestead spirit will be commemorated during the 44th annual Soldotna Progress Days celebration.

This year's theme is "River of Dreams," a name that reflects the early desire of Soldotna residents to turn their village into a viable community.

The celebration of Progress Days has been a part of the city for almost as long as there's been a Soldotna. It was only 1947 when the first settlers staked homestead claims on the banks of the river at the present site of Soldotna.

Those early settlers the Bodnar brothers, Jack Irons, Don Culver, the Mullens, the Farnsworths, the Lancashires, the Lees, the Robinsons, Howard Binkley, Dick Gerhard, Larry McGuire, Ira Little and Marvin Smith believed that the site would become a natural place for a town to grow.

They were right. In 1948, a bridge was built across the Kenai River, and by 1956 the little town had grown large enough to have its own chamber of commerce.

In the years since, Soldotna has seen itself grow up quite a bit. Now a bustling community of 4,000 people, the city is home to the central peninsula's retail shopping, sport fishing and health care industries.

Not bad for a little town founded by a few homesteaders with some very big dreams.

The Peninsula Clarion joins Soldotna residents, businesses and community leaders in inviting you to celebrate Progress Days 2004. The Clarion publishes this special edition each year to promote the celebration and look at some of the people and events that make Soldotna a great place to live, visit and do business.

City celebrates homestead spirit

Settlers' dreams realized

Soldotna, Alaska, was founded on the dreams of a few determined homesteaders who believed that the turquoise waters of the Kenai River would be the perfect place to start a community.

That homestead spirit will be commemorated during the 44th annual Soldotna Progress Days celebration.

This year's theme is "River of Dreams," a name that reflects the early desire of Soldotna residents to turn their village into a viable community.

The celebration of Progress Days has been a part of the city for almost as long as there's been a Soldotna. It was only 1947 when the first settlers staked homestead claims on the banks of the river at the present site of Soldotna.

Those early settlers the Bodnar brothers, Jack Irons, Don Culver, the Mullens, the Farnsworths, the Lancashires, the Lees, the Robinsons, Howard Binkley, Dick Gerhard, Larry McGuire, Ira Little and Marvin Smith believed that the site would become a natural place for a town to grow.

They were right. In 1948, a bridge was built across the Kenai River, and by 1956 the little town had grown large enough to have its own chamber of commerce.

In the years since, Soldotna has seen itself grow up quite a bit. Now a bustling community of 4,000 people, the city is home to the central peninsula's retail shopping, sport fishing and health care industries.

Not bad for a little town founded by a few homesteaders with some very big dreams.

The Peninsula Clarion joins Soldotna residents, businesses and community leaders in inviting you to celebrate Progress Days 2004. The Clarion publishes this special edition each year to promote the celebration and look at some of the people and events that make Soldotna a great place to live, visit and do business.



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