Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In 1935 the U.S. government sent 68 families from Wisconsin to the Matanuska Valley in Alaska as part of an ambitious New Deal resettlement project. On February 6th, for the first time, their story will be seen on Milwaukee public television.

Alaska Far Away will have its Milwaukee-area premiere on Monday, February 6th at 8 p.m. on WMVT-TV (Channel 36.1). Alaska Far Away has deep roots in the Milwaukee area, featuring many articles and photographs by Arville Schaleben, who in 1935 was a cub reporter for the Milwaukee Journal (now the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel). The newspaper sent him to Alaska along with the Wisconsin colonists to get the exclusive story on the Matanuska Colony. Schaleben's articles - over 150 stories filed over a four-month period - were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. When we interviewed him in 1994, after a long, illustrious journalism career, Schaleben told us that the Matanuska Colony was the story of a lifetime, his favorite assignment, and an important part of American history. Tune in on February 6th and see for yourself.

Milwaukee Journal reporter Arville Schaleben writing his daily dispatch from the Matanuska Colony in 1935.