The Oberg family — the early days
Easter of 1963 was a memorable one for the Russell Obergs of Peters Creek. It marked the first holiday celebrated by the family in their new home. For the previous ten years they had lived first in a homestead cabin, then in the basement of their home as many of the first settlers in the area had to do.
Traveling from Baggs, Wyoming to Palmer in 1950, Russell Oberg came to Alaska with his brother to work. Decding that he liked the area, Oberg brought his family up the following year, laying claim to a five-acre homesite and homesteading 80 surrounding acres. But claiming the land was all the Obergs could do for two years. The land office had wrongly mapped Peters Creek and they would not allow homesteading until the matter was straightened out. According to Mrs. Oberg, all problems of this nature had to be relayed back to Washington D.C. in order to be solved.
Moving onto their homestead site in 1953, the Obergs first lived in a 14-by-24-foot homestead cabin with two children. As soon as possible, a basement was built on the homesite and the family transferred living quarters there. In July of 1962, they began building their house, an unusual structure because the only wood in it is in the interior decoration. Instead of wood, stucco covered the four-inch insulation on the outside of the house and plaster on the inside. The house was completed in April 1964.
Raising hay and milk cows at one time, children have been the main undertakings of the Obergs. They are the only family in the area, according to Mrs. Oberg, working their homesite as a farm. She claims it has been “a great place to raise kids.” They have six children, grown now — Sheryll, Vonda, Diane, Lyle, Valda and Jean, and four grandchildren, all boys.
To be continued…
** From accounts in the Chugiak-Eagle River Star, edited by the Chugiak-Eagle River Historical Society “Memory Retrievers.”
This column is provided by the Chugiak-Eagle River Historical Society. Reach them at [email protected]