Al Hershberger was honored at the Soldotna Progress Days Pioneer Barbecue and Meet and Greet, where was named grand marshal of the Progress Days Parade, Friday, July 26, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Al Hershberger was honored at the Soldotna Progress Days Pioneer Barbecue and Meet and Greet, where was named grand marshal of the Progress Days Parade, Friday, July 26, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Barbecue celebrates Soldotna’s early homesteaders and pioneers

Al Hershberger was presented with a proclamation designating Al Hershberger Appreciation Weekend.

Dozens of people came out to the Soldotna Homestead Museum to celebrate and honor Soldotna’s early pioneers and homesteaders, including Al Hershberger — who was named the grand marshal of the Soldotna Progress Days Parade. Hershberger was also presented with a proclamation from the city of Soldotna, which proclaimed Progress Days weekend as Al Hershberger Appreciation Weekend.

During the presentation, Hershberger said he was at a loss for words. After the ceremony, folks were invited to a free barbecue dinner and encouraged to explore the cabins that make up the Soldotna Homestead Museum.

“(Getting honored) felt good, but it was kind of humbling, you know?” Hershberger said.

Carroll Brookman, the docent at the museum, said she appreciates events that celebrate Soldotna’s early settlers.

Brookman’s family came down to the peninsula from Anchorage in 1958, when Brookman was 15 years old. They homesteaded land that was about 8 miles from town.

“Actually, I was outraged,” Brookman said. “I was a 15-year-old girl. My parents were moving me somewhere with no telephone. I was not happy.”

As soon as Brookman graduated high school she moved back to Anchorage, and then in 2001, she came back to the homestead to be with her mother. Now, she lives on her parents’ original homestead.

Brookman said she appreciates the people before her, who had the forethought to preserve Soldotna’s history.

“The people before me that worked so hard to get this historical society going — people like Al, today, and Marge Mullen and my parents,” Brookman said. “It was hard, because in 1980 when they were trying to get everyone to participate in this project they would say ‘what do you mean history? You’re only talking about 1950.’ The fact they realized it needed to be saved was a good thing.”

Brookman said it was nice to see Hershberger recognized for the work he’s done.

“He’s been instrumental to so many things,”

James Gibbs, whose family came to the peninsula when he was 10 years old, in 1953, said it’s satisfying to see events like Progress Days that celebrate early homesteaders.

“I’ve noticed people want to know more,” Gibbs said. “The community is actually pretty interested in what the community used to be like.”

More in News

Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion 
The Kenai River can be seen from the Funny River Campground on Sunday, June 23, 2019, in Funny River, Alaska.
State seeks funding for Funny River boat launch

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources is working to secure funding for… Continue reading

.
COVID-19 cases remain high in area

Every region of Alaska was considered to be at “intermediate” or “high”… Continue reading

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion 
The entrance to Soldotna Public Library is seen on Thursday, March 25, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska.
Soldotna library seeks to beef up reading programs

The Soldotna Public Library will use a $2,200 donation from the Soldotna… Continue reading

Characters from the "Little Mermaid" wave to the crowd from the Triumvirate Theatre float during the Soldotna Progress Days parade on Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
Progress on parade

The Progress Days Parade was held Saturday in Soldotna.… Continue reading

Scaffolding is erected around the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, July 20, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Parishioners largely welcomed back to in-person church services

One serious point of contention during the coronavirus pandemic, amid many, has… Continue reading

Kenai Courthouse is photographed on February 26, 2019 in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)
Court reports, July 25

The following dismissals were recently handed down in Kenai District Court: Dalton… Continue reading

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Police Reports, July 25, 2021

Information for this report was taken from publicly available law enforcement records… Continue reading

Clayton Holland stands in his office at the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
New superintendent discusses upcoming school year

Clayton Holland is ready to get to work. That’s what the new… Continue reading

South Peninsula Hospital registered nurse Anne Garay gives Jessica Entsminger her second COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, May 7, 2021, at a pop-up vaccination clinic at the Boathouse Pavillion on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. About 25 people received vaccines in the first 3.5 hours of the 4-hour clinic. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
As COVID cases increase, officials think we’re not yet at the fourth peak

Department of Health and Social Services officials said during a Thursday press… Continue reading

Most Read