is a city in and the borough seat of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is part of the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2000 census, the population of the city was 4,533. 2007 Census Bureau estimates give the city a population of 7,804.
Palmer began in 1916 as a railway station on the Matanuska branch of the Alaska Railroad largely to serve coal mines in the Jonesville/Sutton area northeast of Palmer. It was named for station master Stanley Duncan Palmer. In 1935, during the Great Depression, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal projects, established the Matanuska Colony. From Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, 203 families traveled by train and ship to reach the fledgling colony, arriving in the summer of 1935. Upon their arrival they were housed in a tent city during their first Alaskan summer. Each family drew lots for tracts and their farming adventure began in earnest. The failure rate was high, but many of their descendants still live in the area and there are still many operating farms in the Palmer area, including Vanderwheele and Wolverine farms.
In addition to an agrarian heritage, the colony families brought with them Midwest America's small-town values, institutional structures, and a well-planned city center reminiscent of their old hometowns in Minnesota. Many of the structures built are now in a nationally recognized historic district. Construction of the statewide road system and the rapid development of Anchorage has fueled growth around Palmer. Many Palmer residents commute 45 minutes to work in Anchorage.