|s/y Nine of Cups
|Interesting Nebraskan trivia...
Area: 77,358 sq mi (16th biggest state in the US)
Population: ~1.8 million
High Point: Panorama Point, 5,426'
Low Point: Missouri River (Richardson County) 840'
State Nickname: Cornhusker State, Tree Planters' State
State Flower: Goldenrod
State Bird: Western Meadowlark
Nebraska was the 37th state in the USA and entered the
union on March 1, 1867
|The name Nebraska is from an Oto
Indian word that means "flat water"
(referring to the Platte River, which means
"flat river" in French).
|We headed northeast out of Colorado along
I-76, connecting with I-80 which would take
us pretty much across the country. We
detoured a bit and headed to Beatrice the
first day in anticipation of David's birthday
which we decided to spend at Homestead
National Monument. In contrast to the
mountains of Colorado, the road became
straight and flat with seemingly never-ending
prairie, cornfields and farms.
|The story of John Deere, a blacksmith who
developed the world's first commercially
successful self-scouring steel plow, closely
parallels the settlement and development of the
Midwest US, an area that 19th century
homesteaders considered the golden land of
|Nebraska has more miles of river than any
other state in the US. Major rivers include
the Platte, the Missouri , Niobrara River,
Republican River and their tributaries.
|Homestead National Monument - Beatrice, NE 40N28 / 96W83
|This award winning heritage center opened in
May 2007 and celebrates the magnitude and
worldwide impact of the US Homestead Act
of 1862. It was fascinating.
|The Homestead Act gave individuals the
opportunity to claim free government land.
Thousands rose to the challenge and 270
million acres were claimed and settled under
this Act. This monument told their story.
|According to park statistics, there are
estimated 93 million descendants of
homesteaders in the world today. David is
one of them! Above, advertisements for
"getting land the easy way"....NOT!
|The heritage center is situated on
the original 160-acre claim of the
first official Homesteader, Daniel
|The Palmer-Ephard cabin was built in 1867 from
mixed hardwoods, by George W. Palmer and is
representative of local construction style.
Measuring 14 x 16 feet, it accomodated Palmer,
his wife and 10 children. More typical "first"
homes were made of sod or built into sides of hills.
|One of our favorite American authors is
Willa Cather. Born in Red Cloud,
Nebraska, her stories about frontier life
are rich and vibrant. My Antonia and
O, Pioneers are two of our favorites.
|America's first rodeo celebrating the 4th of July 1892,
was held by Buffalo Billl Cody in North Platte.
|The legendary Oregon Trail, the California
Trail, the Mormon Pioneer Trail and the
Pony Express route all ran along the Platte
River before heading further west.
|David checks out a replica of a "prairie
schooner" ...Nine of Cups is bigger than this!
|We walked numerous mown "trails" through
the high grass prairie which offered a whole
new world of wildflowers and native birds.
|The highways were lined with fields and farms.
Huge hay rolls lay drying in the fields. Wheat
and cornfields, huge irrigation devices and neat
farmhouses and barns were the order of the day.
|This tiny brick one-room schoolhouse was
used continuously from 1872 until 1967.
|Purple cone flowers are typical of roadside
wildflowers which caught our attention. See
|After a full day at Homestead, we hit the road
back towards I-80 and spent the night just
over the Iowa border. Now, we thought, we'd
head directly east without delay, but of
course, we found distractions that slowed us
down a bit. Come with us to Winterset,
Iowa and the Bridges of Madison County.