The remains of the 1922 coal washery is the most visible exhibit at the park. Coal was crushed by another machine and conveyed by belt to this washer where three plungers agitated water much like today’s family washing machine to wash 25 tons of coal an hour. Agitation forced the coal to float to the surface while the rock fell to the bottom. A large elevator hauled the washed coal to the conveyor belt which carried it to the dryer and a small elevator carried the reject rock from the washer.
Lucas House-built in 1917, served as a residence for coal miners at the Chickaloon Coal Mine. Sometime after abandonment of the mines, it . It was moved to Palmer where it n the mine closed and became the Lucas home in 1943. Donated by the Lucas family in 1989, the first floor has since been renovated to accommodate AHS records in addition to serving as a meeting room for the board. It was donated to the park in1989. The first floor has been renovated and is open to the public during park summer events. The building houses the AHS records and is the meeting place of the AHS Board The house is open to the public during park events.
Mary Geist House- built as an O’Neill guest house in the 1960’s, it was moved in 1990 to house the Old Timer’s Hall of Fame-honoring the residents of Sutton who were involved with the coal mining industry and development of Sutton. It houses plaques of the inductees and a collection of fossils and petrified wood found in the mining area.
Roberts/O’Neill House-a log residence built in1949 is now a Visitor Center and a private residence. The Visitor Center has information of activities in the area and a small historic display of earlier life in Sutton.
Powder Magazine- built in 1921 this structure housed explosives for coal mining andthe Glenn Highway construction
Hitchcock Cabin-to be renovated in 2016, this building will house Athabascan Dene’ cultural displays and will be a meeting place for cultural workshops. Chickaloon Bunkhouse-built in 1918 as a bunkhouse for the Chickaloon Mine and moved to the park in 1990, it houses the major park collection of artifacts and photographs.
Sutton Post Office-built in 1948, this small building was Sutton’s first post office. Items from that time are found inside.
Athabascan Winter Lodge Exhibit-built in 2005, this building is a collaboration of AHS and Chickaloon Native Village. It illustrates a traditional native house design, commonly used prior to Russian and Euro-American contact. to present a native structure in the park that may have existed before the arrival of foreigners. It holds examples of local medicinal plants, hides from local furbearing animals, that were used, donated items from Katie Wade, bunks, and sweat lodge, and a mock central fire pit. A recorded Athabascan Dene’ story, singing and drumming can be heard within the walls. (The hidessled, lamp and plants were donated by the lLate Native Dene Elder, Kathryn “Katie” Wade).
Restrooms-built in 2013, the tidy restrooms function only during park hours.while the park is open.
The Alpine -Playground-built by the Community in 2014, it is a a BIG draw for families of young children with swings, climbing frames, slides, sand box, musical toys and many beautiful murals
Exercise Pavillion built in 2011, this shelter contains equipment for young adults and adults to exercise their core muscles.
History of Coal Mining in Matanuska Valley
The earliest Euro-American explorations for coal in Alaska were conducted by the Russians before Alaska was sold to the United States in 1867. After 1867, American scientific exploratory groups that were sent north to Alaska by Congress indicated in their reports that coal was present.