Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Tour Continues

Sorry for the brief detour to discuss the Watchable Wildlife workshop, now on with our tour.

The next stop is the Lincoln County Historical Museum. I know county historical museums are fairly commonplace, but ours truly is something special. I am showing you the entrance doors because these doors once graced the entrance to the historic Union Pacific Depot in North Platte. Through these doors passed more than six and a half million service men and women to enjoy the hospitality of the North Platte Canteen during World War II. Now that IS something special!
The Museum curator Jim Griffin briefs our group on what we can expect at the Museum. One of the greatest quilters ever to live, Grace Snyder called this area home. The Museum has some of her extraordinary quilts on display. Also in the main building is the largest collection of Native American artifacts to be found outside of Lincoln, as well as the kind of things you would imagine to find in a county museum - exhibits that tell the story of our history and heritage.
A large portion of the Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the North Platte Canteen in photographs, interpretive exhibits and the books and films that have been produced to keep the memory alive. Here a visiting group enjoys "The Canteen Spirit" film that Nebraska Educational Television produced.
Outside, some of the buildings are undergoing repairs, but our group still enjoyed our visit. This is the porch of the first two-story log cabin to be built in the area. It was first constructed south of Maxwell near the area of Fort McPherson.
Also on the Museum grounds is the oldest known structure constructed in Lincoln County. It has a long history, being moved several times during the time it was occupied and after it turned into an historical display. It is known as the D.A.R. Cabin after the energetic group of women who saved it and relocated it originally in Memorial Park before it found its way to the Museum. Inside its walls, the first Anglo-American baby to be born in what is now Lincoln County made her entrance into this world.
Did you know that at one time you could order a house through the Sears and Roebuck catalog? Well, yes you could, and the Lincoln County Historical Museum has an excellent example on display. Known as the Frederickson house, it came complete with nearly all of the possessions of the family who originally had it built.
The highlight of my day was getting to play with the telegraph. The contraption that you see here was incredibly important to the development of the United States, and truly the world. There are very few telegraphers left alive today, but when they were active, nearly all communication passed through their fingers in a series of dots and dashes. I understand that a competition was held recently that pitted modern-day "texters" with telegraphers, and the telegraphers won, hands down.

The museum has a working telegraph that can send messages from one room of their restored depot to the other - probably the worlds shortest telegraph system, but enough to get a feel for the skill needed to operate the system.
Right around the corner from the Lincoln County Historical Museum is the Buffalo Bill State Historical Park, or "The Ranch" as it is known locally. The grounds are beautifully maintained, and I think Cody would be pleased to know that he is still entertaining visitors nearly 100 years after his death.
The house and barn are the centerpiece of the park, but the grounds are delightful. If you have a Nebraska State Park Permit sticker on your car, you can come out here any time and enjoy the scenery. During the busy summer months I can't promise you solitude, but I can promise you beauty.
One of the smaller outbuildings is this log cabin that once served as a line shack on Codys ranch.
Inside the furnishings are very similar to what would have been found in a quite prosperous cabin of the 1870s and 1880s.
Because we are a thrifty folk, this cabin too has had a mobile history.
From the doorway of the cabin you can see the beautiful Victorian mansion Cody constructed to raise his family and entertain his guests.
I'm sorry, do you remember me telling you that the grounds are beautiful?
The summer residents of the ranch, a tiny herd of buffalo, have already settled in. They are an added treat to any visit to the Ranch.
One more post and I think I'll finish up on our day of touring North Platte. There is lots more that we weren't able to take in this day, and if you visit us, you'll find that even several days isn't enough to do all there is to do.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

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