Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Know Nebraska: Eustis Pool Hall in Eustis, Nebraska

Eustis is a rarity in Nebraska - a thriving rural community! The high population was 497 in 1930, but it has held its own, with ups and downs, boasts a population of 401 at the 2010 census. The village has a proud German heritage which has been kept alive by many customs, foods and celebrations. On Jan. 8, 1993, Eustis was declared the "Sausage Capital of Nebraska" by the Nebraska Legislature.

The Eustis Chamber of Commerce lists 35 members, including the cornerstone businesses of the Eustis Body Shop (with locations in Eustis, Cozad, Lexington, Kearney and Grand Island), and the world-famous Village Pie Maker. The signature community event is Wurst Tag, always the Second Saturday in June- "A German heritage celebration similar to an Oktoberfest, Wurst Tag is a family celebration. Some of the events include the early morning Volkmarch and Road Race. During the day there are heritage contests, games, demonstrations and displays. The day concludes with a large German dinner, Polka dance and American street dance. Two large beer tents provide seating and shade during the day."
Our reason for visiting was to enjoy the incredible Eustis Pool Hall. I have been visiting the Eustis Pool Hall since the early 1980's, when their Mexican food was a favorite.
The Eustis Pool Hall doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside it is one of those local taverns we travel for. The staff is warm and friendly, the food and drink is delicious, and the decor shows pride of place, including the incredible cedar slab bar hand made from wood harvested locally. The other decor, including the windmill fan chandelier also tells a local story.
 The story of the Eustis Pool Hall is the story of what it takes to be a local entrepreneur. Though very popular locally, the Pool Hall had been closed for two years during 2013-2015. A local decided it was just too sad to have a hometown with no restaurant, so enlisted the help of her friends and family to reopen the restaurant and tavern. The opening day was on the Saturday of the Wurst Tag celebration in 2015.

Owning a bar and restaurant anywhere is a herculean task, but in a small town in rural Nebraska, especially so, as the labor pool to draw from is extremely limited. It can mean a work week that can easily be more than double the standard 40 hours.

In September of 2016, owner  Katrina Oaklund announced a merger with  Steven Frazier and Lonnie Labens, owners of Sweets and More in Cozad, with the end result to be the closing of Sweets and More and the purchase of the business by Frazier and Labens.

We haven't visited the Eustis Pool Hall for quite some time, but judging from the Facebook posts, the new business proposition is working out just fine, so it's time to make another road trip! Just as we did on our last trip there, locals and visitors are enjoying great food, great drinks and great fun.

When you go: The Eustis Pool Hall is located at 112 E Railroad St, Eustis, Nebraska, 69028. They have regular hours, opening six days a week at 11:00am. They are closed on Sundays. Call at (308) 486-5333.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Know Nebraska: 3 Brothers Vineyard and Winery in Farnam, Nebraska

Farnam is another small town situated along the HiLine - Highway 23 in south central Nebraska. The population was 171 at the 2010 census, down from the all-time high population of 462 in 1910. It is a typical small town in rural Nebraska. Quiet residential neighborhoods, many with unpaved streets, a closed school, and a few, very few, main street businesses operating in historic buildings dating from a more prosperous time.

Our reason for visiting Farnam was to enjoy the 3 Brothers Vineyard and Winery. A delightful find in a small town. 3 Brothers is located at 812 Lincoln St., in the northwest corner of the community.
3 Brothers is located in an unprepossessing building that belies the warmth of the interior.
According to their website: "Three Brothers Vineyard and Winery takes its name from the three Wach brothers Hermann Julius, Friedrich Wilhelm and Otto Rudolph.  Two of the brothers, Hermann and Friedrich, were born in Worms, Russia in 1879 and 1884 respectively, while Otto was born in Hayes County, Nebraska in 1889 after the family homesteaded in the area.  They are among 15 children of Friedrich Hermann Wach who was born in East Germany, but immigrated to Russia in 1852 to seek his fortune as a maker of leather harnesses.  Russia, under the Czar, was inhospitable for Germans, so at the age of 54 he moved his family to America arriving on the same day as the Statue of Liberty, June 18, 1885.  Family folklore says the family arrived on the same ship as the many crates that were carrying the statue.

Traveling by train to Sutton, Nebraska to meet family, the Wachs soon homesteaded in Hayes County, 50 miles west of 3 Brothers  Vineyard location.  Later, these three brothers married three sisters from the Schultz family.  Hermann married Anna Karolina in 1909.  Friedrich married Emilie Elisabetha in 1912.  Otto married Johanna Frieda in 1919.  Friedrich and Emilie Wach are the grandparents of the vineyard and winery founder, Gary Wach.
 The pride in their German/Russian heritage is evident. According to census data, 29% of Farnam residents claim German heritage, while 13% report Irish.
3 Brothers is a wonderful find in rural Nebraska. The small tasting room and adjacent outdoor patio provide the perfect setting to enjoy a glass with friends. They have a selection of Nebraska reds and whites, plus, if you're there at the right time, you can enjoy appetizers or a meal.
Though it is important to call ahead to make sure they are going to be open, and because they produce small batches, they may be out of some of their wines, you will enjoy a good time at 3 Brothers. Be sure to visit their calendar on their website to take part in their regular special events. (Note - this photo of the special events is for February/March of 2016, not current)
When you go: The street address is 812 Lincoln Street, Farnam, NE  69029. Because this is a family-run operation, be sure to call ahead, even if you're planning a trip during the open hours listed on their website, (308) 569.2501, cell phone (308) 320.0020 or the house (308) 569.2443, or email

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Know Nebraska: Lazy RW Whiskey Distillery in Moorefield, Nebraska

Moorefield is a tiny town! You pretty much have to go there on purpose to find your way there. It is located on the "HiLine", which is Highway 23 across south central Nebraska, just east of Curtis and west of Farnam. It's easy to pass right by it, as it's super tiny - just 32 people in the 2010 census.

Our reason for visiting Moorefield was to do a tasting and purchase some whiskey at the Lazy RW Distillery. If there's one good reason to find your way to Moorefield, it is to go to this incredible distillery.
 Thankfully the distillery has a new lighted sign. Early in 2016 when we made our visit there, we drove by the former Moorefield school several times before realizing that it was the home of the Lazy RW Distillery!
It is worth the effort to find your way inside! What an incredible story of rural entrepreneurship! According to their story on their website: "Lazy RW Distillery was founded in August of 2015, by father and son team Bill and Todd Roe.  What started out as a fascination with old journals from a Great Uncle, who operated a still on the Niobrara River in prohibition days, has now become a fully licensed whiskey distillery located in Moorefield, Nebraska.  We are very proud of the slow process we use to make our whiskey the quality product we produce.  With Nebraska corn, Nebraska vendors, and three featured products (Straight Corn Whiskey, Cinnamon Flavor Whiskey, and Lemon Flavored Whiskey) we have followed our Uncle's notes to a tee.  We are a small distillery with huge standards of quality.  We look forward to providing a high-end product for many years to come."

One of the things that I love about local businesses is the pride they have in their home towns, and the value they bring to their communities. Yes, entrepreneurship is important everywhere, and a small business in Lincoln contributes to their economy, but a small business in a town of 32 people has an out-sized importance!
Not only do they provide economic stimulus, but they provide a special place for locals to gather together - doubly so if the business makes and serves whiskey!
You will notice throughout this blog post you won't see any photos of the actually distilling room. Though we were able to tour the room, Photos of stills aren't allowed per whatever federal agency governs such matters!
Lazy RW makes three products: Frontier Straight Whiskey, Cinnamon Flavored Whiskey and Lemon Flavored Whiskey, all as close to the original recipe created in the 1920 prohibition era bootleg culture of the founder's great-uncle.
Be sure to call ahead so that you have the opportunity to enjoy a formal tasting with the founder.
He is justifiably proud of the products they create.

 And they love their tiny community of Moorefield!

When you go: The actual street address is 519 South Ash St., Moorefield NE 69039. Look for the former school and the new lighted sign. Call ahead! You don't want to miss out on your chance for a tasting! 308-660-2728​, 308-530-1800 or you can email

Thursday, December 1, 2016

2014 Fleetwood Tioga Ranger 31D Class C Motorhome for sale

I can't believe it's been since July since I updated this blog! One of the excuses I have is that we have been so busy traveling the state in our beautiful Tioga Ranger motorhome. Now, we want to advance to a fifth wheel travel trailer, so our home-away-from-home is for sale!

It's been from Fort Robinson to Ponca State Park, Harlan County Reservoir to Calamus, yet it still has barely over 9,000 miles!
It's even enjoyed the Greeley Irish Festival! It sleeps 10 - queen bed in the bedroom and in the cabover bunk. An extra dinette converts to two bunk beds, there is a jack knife sofa, and the main dinette bunk.

Below are the photos from the dealer we purchased it from, but it still looks exactly the same!

As you can see, there are two slides, which make it truly spacious inside.

Three burner stove with oven, hood and microwave.

Queen bed in the bedroom and in the cabover bed, complete with swing-out entertainment center.
 Here is the second dinette, which converts to a set of bunk beds. Below you see the upper bunk, with the dinette still set up below, however, the lower dinette also converts to a bed.
 Porcelain toilet, shower and sink in the bathroom.
 Above is the value when we purchased it in 2014, and below is the NADA price report.
We are asking $69,995, and it can be seen at our home in Sutherland, Nebraska. This truly is the perfect family vacation vehicle, and I hope a new family can make memories in it next summer! You can contact us at

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunday Stories: Harold Humphrey Barber Shop

Excerpted from the Sutherland Centennial 1891 – 1991, published in 1991.

Harold Humphrey began “barbering” in his father’s (James F. Humphrey) shop when he was in his teens. Following his graduation from high school, he worked full time in this shop. During the early part of the century in Sutherland, the Barber Shop was one of the “Social Centers” of the village. Men congregated here for monumental discussions, and to solve all kinds of problems of the world, and to play checkers. A checker board was a necessity at that time.
Harold worked with his father until January, 1926 when he moved with his wife Edith, and two sons. Donald and Charles, to North Platte, where he had purchased a barber shop near the old State Theatre, north of the railroad tracks on Jeffers Street.

In July, 1926, Harold moved back to Sutherland. He purchased the barber fixtures owned by Doris Dunn and Lorna Hilliard in the building on the east side of Walnut Street between First and Second Streets. The “Girls Shoppe” operated by Doris and Lorna was moving to a different location. This building was part of a building owned by Art Yates.

As was the custom of those years, there was a shower bath installed in the barber shop. This shower was used by many in the area since “indoor plumbing” was not too widespread at this time.

In 1937, Harold purchased some dry cleaning equipment from a shop in Gothenburg. In April of 1938, the steam spotting and pressing equipment was installed in the back part of the barber shop. Edith worked in the dry-cleaning as time permitted.
In 1941, Harold and Edith purchased the E. C. Brown buildings on the corner of First and Walnut. The old “warehouse” to the north of the building on the corner was torn down and the front remodeled into a barber shop, cleaning shop, and an apartment.
Harold barbered in this shop until the summer of 1949 when his son Charles and wife Marilyn returned to Sutherland to operate the dry cleaning shop. At that time, Harold built a small building in the vacant lot just west of the barber shop. Edith retired, and Harold continued barbering until March 1953, at which time he retired and moved to their farm by Sarben, Nebraska, where they remodeled the house there and lived until Harold passed away suddenly August 17, 1971.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sunday Stories: Harold Elmer and Edith (Smith) Humphrey

Excerpted from the Sutherland Centennial 1891 – 1991, published in 1991.

Harold Elmer Humphrey was born in Sutherland, Nebraska on July 24, 1901, to James Fernando and Irma Jane (Pierson) Humphrey. He attended elementary and high school here, graduating with the Class of 1919. Following graduation, he attended college in Lincoln, Nebraska for a period of time. He returned to Sutherland, joining his father in the barber shop located on the west side of Walnut Street in downtown Sutherland.
Harold and Edith Humphrey
Edith Adelaide Smith was born in Schuyler, Nebraska, on January 7, 1904, the youngest child of Charles Henry and Adelaide (Lawrence) Smith. When she was twelve, the family moved to the Platte Valley community west of North Platte, then to Sutherland several years later.

Harold and Edith were secretly married on March 29, 1921. Their “secret” was revealed several weeks later as Edith was still in high school. The members of the school board had to make a decision, whether or not Edith should be allowed to complete her senior year and graduate with her class. She received a favorable decision.

Harold worked in his father’s shop until 1926, at which time he purchased a shop in North Platte and moved the family. In 1928 he purchased a shop in Sutherland, moving the family back. They also purchased a home on Pine Street at this time.

Harold and Elizabeth were the parents of two sons, Donald Harold, born May 17, 1922 and Charles James, born March 3, 1924. Donald passed away on December 18, 1929, following a short illness. Charles grew up in the community, served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, completed college, married, and has resided here since.

Harold continued to barber for many years. Soon after buying their home, they enlarged it as they needed more room. During the depression in the thirties, Edith housed and prepared meals for a number of school teachers. When construction of the Reservoir began, the main floor of their home was rented to a civil engineer and his wife, their garage was converted to sleeping quarters for several men working construction, the family moved to the basement. When water began coming into the basement due to the high water table, they moved into the garage.

During the depression years, Harold would “barber” for about anything in payment for his services. One rancher would let his bill grow until he could pay with a quarter of beef. Harold also received cream, chickens, turkeys, and garden produce in payment.

Edith was a talented musician. In the days of silent films at the theatre, she played the piano for the “Mood Music”. Music played a large role in her life. She could play any song “by ear” after hearing it once. She was involved in the choir at the Methodist Church for many years.
In 1938, they established a Dry Cleaning business, first behind the barber shop on the east side of Walnut Street, later in the building they acquired on the corner of First and Walnut. This change of location was made in 1943.
When Charles and his wife, Marilyn, returned to Sutherland in 1949 to operate the dry cleaning business, Harold built a new barber shop, attaching it to the west side of the corner building. A barber shop is still being operated at this location.
In 1953, Harold sold the barber shop, moving to a farm they owned near Sarben. For a number of years, they spent the winter months in warmer areas of the south and southwestern USA, spending much of their time playing contract bridge.

They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on March 29, 1971. They continued living on the farm until Harold passed away suddenly August 17, 1971. At this time, Edith moved back to Sutherland. She traveled extensively overseas and in the United States in her remaining years. Edith passed away on March 7, 1979. Both are interred in the Riverview Cemetery at Sutherland.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunday Stories: William R. “Rance” and Lillian (Pierson) Humphrey Family

Excerpted from the Sutherland Centennial 1891 – 1991, published in 1991.

William Ransalaer Humphrey (Rance), the son of Benonia and Elizabeth (Osenbaugh) Humphrey, was born on January 27, 1877 in Maroa, Illinois. He moved with his parents and the rest of the family to Keith County in 1893, where they were early pioneer settlers. Their parents’ home was one of the few in this part of the county built from lumber, most of them being constructed of sod.

On January 27, 1904, Rance married Lillian Katheryn Pierson, daughter of John and Kathryn (Zimmerman) Pierson. As a young man, Rance enjoyed hunting wild game (prairie chickens, ducks and quail) to be shipped to eastern markets. The gun he used he gave to his grandson, Gary Wolff.

At the time of their marriage, Rance owned a Barber Shop in Ogallala, Nebraska. He had attended Barber College in Omaha, Nebraska. Lillian was a school teacher when they married. Following their marriage, they moved back to the home area to farm, and later moved into Sutherland, in 1907.

In 1924, they purchased his father’s home in north Sutherland. In 1931, they built a new modern home, the older house was moved to the north part of the acreage and rented. Their former home is now (1991) occupied by Mrs. Laura Woodard.
Rance and Lily were the parents of two children, William Melvin (May 5, 1905 to March 26, 1976 and Velda Merna Wolff, who at present (1991) lives in Hastings, Nebraska.

When Rance became ill, their home and acreage were sold, and Rance and Lily moved to Lexington to be closer to their son. Rance passed away on September 24, 1965, at which time Lily moved to Lexington to be closer to their daughter, Velda. Lily passed away in December 1969.

Both are buried in Riverview Cemetery, south of Sutherland.