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Saloon-Smashing Carrie Nation in Nebraska

Starting in 1900, Carrie Nation became a household name for her fanatical opposition to alcohol. By David L. Bristow, History Nebraska Imagine that you are in a bar in the early 1900s — a glass of cold beer in your hand, a spittoon within easy spitting distance on the hardwood floor, and a racy painting of some unclothed beauty hanging on the wall. You turn at the sound of a woman’s voice singing hymns, and in walks a mature woman …

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No Spitting

How tuberculosis ended public spitting. By Patricia C. Gaster, History Nebraska During the late 19th century, spittoons became a common feature of saloons, hotels, stores, banks, railway carriages and other places where adult men gathered. Many localities passed laws against public spitting other than into a spittoon, but such laws were seldom enforced. Some people of this era objected to restrictions on where they could spit as an infringement on their individual liberty. Nonetheless, anti-spitting sentiment was growing. The Norfolk Weekly …

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There’s One in Every Bunch!

sunsetwadingDaniel2

I know the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery bicentennial celebration was several years ago now.  Makes no difference, my family and I still enjoy dropping in on the Lewis & Clark Visitor Center.  That beautiful facility overlooks the Missouri River just outside Nebraska City. We spent an afternoon there again recently with family that was in town.  We did not frequent the hiking trails nor any of the outdoor exhibits this trip.  There was plenty to see and learn …

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Shot Down in World War II

A story of survival and luck during World War II in the South China Sea. By David L. Bristow, History Nebraska U.S. Navy Ensign John Doyle’s chances of surviving World War II seemed bleak on Nov. 25, 1944, as he struggled to hold his burning dive bomber on target over the South China Sea,” writes Samuel Van Pelt. “While attacking a Japanese heavy cruiser, anti-aircraft fire damaged his plane, but Doyle still managed to release his bomb and score a …

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The Baysdorfers – Nebraska’s First Aviators

The Baysdorfer brothers built and few Nebraska’s first plane. By David L. Bristow, History Nebraska When Charles Baysdorfer prepared for takeoff near Waterloo, he was piloting a homebuilt biplane on its maiden flight, but he hadn’t taken any lessons or flown in an airplane before. Manufactured planes and professional training were hard to come by in 1910. On that day, Nov. 21, however, Baysdorfer became the first Nebraskan pilot and the first to fly a Nebraska-built plane. No one who …

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Sowbelly with Coffee – Special Names for a Special Place

The scenery alone is worth a trip to this spot in the Pine Ridge. Don’t forget the fishing rod, though. Story and photos by Justin Haag Without knowing better, the name might lead some to assume Sowbelly Creek is a stream of manure oozing from a pig farm. Far from it. The clear, babbling brook between rugged sandstone buttes in Sioux County represents the best attributes of northwestern Nebraska’s Pine Ridge. If it were not located in one of the …

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A History of the Pawnee Scouts

An estimated 1,000 Pawnees served as military allies of the United States between 1864 and 1877. By Mark van de Logt The warm summer air on July 30, 1868, was thick with bullets, arrows and the noise of charging Lakota warriors as Major Frank North sought shelter under a low cliff. Cut off from the rest of his command of Pawnee Scouts, his situation was dire. Then, Ke wuck oo lah la shar, which translates to Fox Chief, arrived with …

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Venture Outdoors for an Autumn Adventure in Nebraska

The calendar indicates that it is not fall yet. The meteorological fall has begun though. And I believe that after Labor Day, the fall season starts. What do you think? For me, unquestionably, fall in Nebraska is one of the best times of the year to spend outdoors. Truth be known, it is my favorite season! The days are definitely getting shorter, the air is getting a bit crisper, the crop harvest will soon start, and before long the leaves …

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Volunteer Spotlight – Fort Atkinson State Historical Park

Living history volunteer Bob Baker celebrates 30 years at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park  By Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley Fort Atkinson State Historical Park is located in Fort Calhoun, Washington County. The original military post was active 1819-1827, and its main purpose was to protect the American fur trade by guarding the “gateway to the West.” At its height, Fort Atkinson housed nearly a quarter of the standing U.S. Army (approximately 1,200 soldiers) and roughly that many civilians lived just beyond the …

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Early Road Signs

By David L. Bristow, History Nebraska We take for granted that roads will be marked to show directions and hazards. That wasn’t always the case. Early highways were more of a do-it-yourself affair for private groups and local communities. Private organizations began promoting “automobile trails” in the 1910s and ’20s. A group would navigate a cross-country route along local farm roads and then promote this dirt-road path as a “highway.” Local communities eager to attract motorists then marked the route …

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