Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Know Nebraska: Lincoln Highway North Platte to Wood River

 The February meeting of the Nebraska Lincoln Highway Historic Byway Board of Directors was held in Wood River, Nebraska, which, of course, meant ROAD TRIP!
The first stop east of North Platte was the historical marker for Fort McPherson, ironically located just off of the Lincoln Highway, several miles north of the actual site of the Fort.
 Next up is the Village of Maxwell, that has several quaint highway-heyday era architecture examples.
The Maxwell business district.
A Maxwell store.
Historic Maxwell photo showing the same location as the above two photos.
An historic stone house right along the Lincoln Highway on the east edge of Maxwell.
 Farther to the east in Brady, you'll also find unique Lincoln Highway architecture.
 If you look closely, you'll see a ghost "Firestone" sign on this abandoned service station in Brady.
The front of the building shown above. This old garage is a terrific example of what would have been found during the early days of the Lincoln Highway, if you look closely, you'll see it advertises service for Automobiles and Carriages.
Here are the ghost signs that can bee seen on the columns of the garage building.
In the concrete in the front of the building is the date 1910, and what looks like the name W. C. Elliott.
Another great building in Brady.
 What used to be the Brady Tavern.
Historic service station in Brady. There used to be a motor court behind this station.
 The city of Gothenburg is an amazing Lincoln Highway community, with beautiful historic homes, a vibrant business district, and of course, the Pony Express station and museum. All of these are represented in numerous photos elsewhere, so here we'll just post a photo of the beautiful Lincoln Highway frontage in the community.
The Lincoln Highway winds through Gothenburg, and exits (or enters, depending on your direction of travel), near the school in the northeast part of town. Where it turns east, you'll find this quaint road-side historical site, complete with cabin and windmill.
Traveling the original alignment of the Lincoln Highway between Gothenburg and Cozad takes you on paved county roads. You're supposed to turn south into Cozad on Road 420, but, if you know anything about today's pop culture, you'll understand that road signs with "420" on them don't last too long. Apparently Dawson County has given up trying to replace them. We missed our turn into Cozad and had to back track a little. Above is pictured the Robert Henri Museum.
Next to the Henri Museum is the 100th Meridian Museum.

There is a beautiful mural in downtown Cozad, with the Lincoln Highway being featured prominently.
Near the east edge of Cozad on the original alignment, is an obvious Lincoln Highway service station.
On these original alignments, you'll find many beautiful barns just like this one.
The original Lincoln Highway route through Lexington misses all of the current downtown and highway frontage. However you will find quite a large section of original brick streets.
 Overton is perhaps best known to Lincoln Highway aficionados for the quaint bridge that remains from the original alignment.
 However, Overton is also a quaint village with great architecture.
 Downtown Overton Street.
One of Overton's biggest attractions is Tiedes, which takes up nearly all of the Lincoln Highway frontage through town.
Covering nearly an entire city block, Tiedes is a must stop for antique enthusiasts. Open every Saturday or by appointment.
 Overton also sports an impressive Veterans Memorial.
A beautiful historic bank building, also currently being used as a bank.
 Someone posted this post card on the Nebraska Lincoln Highway Facebook page. I had never noticed the historic motor lodge in Elm Creek before, so I had to find it.
What was the garage in a bygone era.
 The main building.
 What remains of the cabin.
There are a few interesting buildings remaining in downtown Elm Creek.
 Odessa is another stop for antiquing. The former school has been converted into an antique and furniture store, Odessa Furniture.
 Storefront in Odessa.
Historic abandoned building in Odessa.
Kearney also has wonderful Lincoln Highway history. For this post, we'll only show the Oxen west of Kearney, that is in the process of being restored.
Lincoln Highway enthusiasts in Shelton brought this ghost sigh back to life.
Along the Lincoln Highway frontage in Shelton, you'll find the Nebraska headquarters of the Lincoln Highway Association.
Shelton Street.
Shelton Street.
More great iconic Lincoln Highway architecture near the east edge of Shelton.

Any time you can take a road trip along the Lincoln Highway, it's a great day! We took about four hours to get from North Platte to Wood River, about 130 miles. I highly recommend taking much longer!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sunday Stories: Humphrey Family

James Dewayne Humphrey (born October 3, 1811 and died January 3, 1880) and Mary Elizabeth (McCullough) Humphrey (born July 12, 1820 and died September 14, 1906) were married in Shelby County, Ohio, August 19, 1838, by Esquire Cannon. James and Mary were each the youngest of twelve children in their families. James was a farmer by trade. While living in Ohio, they lived in a log cabin, cooking over an open fire in the fireplace. They wore clothes made of cloth they hand wove, and their children enjoyed coon hunting. Their beds were built high off the floor and had long dust ruffles.

The family name was believed to have been spelled Umfrey, then changed to Umphrey. When they moved to Illinois, the name was changed to Humphrey. James and Mary moved by covered wagon to Illinois in an unknown year. They continued farming while in Illinois. James passed away January 3, 1880 and lies in the Maroa Cemetery, Macon Co., Illinois. After this, two of his sons, Jasper and Virgil, came to Nebraska. They farmed for a brief time west of Sutherland until Virgil moved to Iowa and then on to Canada, and Jasper moved to Idaho. In 1892, Mary and part of her family also moved to Nebraska. Son, Benonia and wife Elizabeth, came and homesteaded in Keith County to prove up on. Mary lived with Wesley and Joseph. Daughter, Hepsey, with her husband James Rolofson, also purchased land southwest of Sutherland at this same time. They returned to Illinois after a short time. Ben, Wes, and Joe continued to farm until retirement.

James and Mary had 11 children. Their first child was John Fernando Humphrey (Born June 28, 1839 and died July 22, 1864). He enlisted in the Civil War for three months and was discharged. John re-enlisted for another three month period or for the duration of the war. He was killed at Peachtree Creek at the age of 25 years.

Isabella Jane “Bell” Humphrey (Born August 23, 1841 and died October 29, 1886), was married to William Rose, November 15, 1868. William Rose died June 17, 1873. Bell and William had two daughters, Katie and Elizabeth. Isabella married Albert Seger, October 25, 1874, in Macon Co., Illinois, by Esquire Rogers. They had one daughter whose name is unknown. Isabella Seger is buried in Maroa Cemetery, Macon Co., Illinois.

Archibald Livingston “Live” Humphrey (born January 13, 1843 and died October 10, 1913) and Electure Quiet “Lecky” Swing (died about 1916) were married January 12, 1870, in Logan Co., Illinois, by Preacher Brandenberg. Archibald also served in the Civil War. Their first three children, Anna, Richard, and another boy, all died of influenza at an early age. Live and Lecky then had two sons, Walter and Willis. Archibald and Electure are buried in Laenna Cemetery, Chestnut, Logan Co., Illinois. Benonia Ausberry “Ben” Humphrey (Born February 18, 1845 and died March 1, 1922) was married to Elizabeth Osenbaugh (born 1855 and died July 5, 1918) in Maroa, Macon County, Illinois, by Preacher Dowd, March 8, 1874. Their children were James, Charles Elmer (who was buried beside his grandmother Mary, in the Frontier Cemetery, then moved to the Riverview Cemetery, Sutherland) and Rancy. Ben and Elizabeth are both buried in the Riverview Cemetery.

William Harvey Humphrey was born March 3, 1847, and died March 24, 1849. He lies buried in Hardin Cemetery, Shelby Co., Ohio.

Robert W. Humphrey (born May 17, 1850 and died November 30, 1886) was married December 23, 1877 in Macon Co., Illinois by Esquire Johnson, to Laura High. They had three children: William, Joseph, and a daughter who died at a young age. Robert is buried in Maroa Cemetery, Macon Co., Illinois.

James Wesley “Wes” Humphrey (born November 28, 1852 and died March 11, 1942) and Geneva Arizona “Zoni” Knowles (born 1877 and died September 12, 1949) were married December 19, 1894. Six children were born to this union. They were Richard “Dick”, Bertha, Nellie, Hazel, Frank and Floyd. Wesley and Geneva are buried in the Riverview Cemetery south of Sutherland.

Jasper Marion Webster “Jap” Humphrey (born March 12, 1844 and died January 5, 1920) and Laura (Cooper) Pease were married in November 1903. They had no children and were later divorced. Jasper is buried at Payette, Idaho.

Virgil Cowen Humphrey (born October 13, 1858 and died January 7, 1932) and Mary Kalcoffin were married on April 25, 1888. Their children were Alva, Eva and Ervin. Virgil is buried at Delburne, Alberta, Canada.

Hepsey Elizabeth “Lizzy” Humphrey (born February 21, 1861and died April 8, 1936) and James “Jim” Rolofson were married January 21, 1891. Their children were Mary, May, Nora, Leona and John. Jim had a son from a previous marriage named Earl. Hepsey is buried in Maroa Cemetery, Macon Co., Illinois.

Joseph Henry Ross “Joe” Humphrey (born April 19, 1863 and died December 2, 1945) and Louisa Katie “Lucy” Refoir (born May 29, 1873 and died September 18, 1945) were married October 3, 1895. Their children were Clara, Mertie, George and Katie L. Both Joe and Lucy are buried in the Sutherland Riverview Cemetery.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Know Nebraska: Sandhill Cranes in the North Platte Area

In Nebraska, Kearney (the Sandhill Crane Capital of the World) and Grand Island get all of the notoriety when it comes to the Sandhill Crane migration. Each year approximately 600,000 Sandhill Cranes migrate through Nebraska and spend about six weeks in the Platte River Valley fortifying themselves for their breeding and nesting season.

The great Central Flyway that these birds use in their migration bottlenecks right through central Nebraska. While Kearney and Grand Island like to claim that the flyway is only about 80 miles in width, just taking in their two communities, and extending a little way to either side, as you'll see, North Platte gets plenty of Sandhill Crane action. There is also a nice sized group of Sandhill Cranes that migrate through west of Lake McConaughy in the Lewellen and Oshkosh area.

This year, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission placed a viewing blind on the North Platte River at the North River Wildlife Management Area just north of Hershey. It is placed with great viewing opportunities of a very nice sized roost.
Sandhill Cranes on the morning of March 13, 2016.
 Both above and below, Sandhll Cranes on the morning of Sunday, March 20.
Other viewing opportunities in the area include great views from the local county roads.
 Meadow and cornfield Sandhill Crane photos taken on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 on Suburban Road and Platte Valley Road between Hershey and North Platte.

North Platte may not have the commercial viewing opportunities such as the Rowe Sanctuary or the Crane Trust (both organizations do an excellent job of telling the Crane story and preserving the Platte River habitat), but we do have far fewer visitors putting pressure on the Cranes, and excellent free viewing sites.

You'll also find large numbers of Sandhill Cranes at North Platte's Golden Spike Tower and Visitors Center and the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park.

It only happens once a year, and then for only a few short weeks. Don't miss your chance to experience the Sandhill Crane migration!