January 1, 2024 | Last updated Dec 13, 2023

A New Year’s Eclipse

A New Year’s greeting card from 1888. 7631-54

The most memorable feature of New Year’s Day in Nebraska in 1889 was a solar eclipse that occurred between three and four o’clock in the afternoon. The Omaha Daily Bee on December 23, 1888, had announced: “The new year will make its debut with an eclipse of the sun, which will be total on the Pacific slope, and partial in these parts. Very few of the present generation have seen a solar eclipse on New Year’s day.”

The Bee reported on January 2: “Here in Omaha about four-fifths of the sun was covered by the dark body of the moon about 4 o’clock, at which time the light was sickly and wan. . . . The sun looked like a crescent through smoked glass, but in spite of the moon’s bad behavior, what was left of his sunship was too powerful to be regarded by the naked eye.”

The eclipse was also a major attraction in Lincoln. The Capital City Courier reported on January 5 that thousands of persons there “began to look for the great blot about three o’clock, but it was not until about four o’clock that the eclipse presented its most beautiful appearance.”

In McCook the eclipse was described by the McCook Tribune on January 4 as a “beautiful vision, . . . During a certain stage in the proceedings the sight was truly sublime, even to the naked eye.” — Patricia C. Gaster, Assistant Editor/Publications


From Mabel Loomis Todd, Total Eclipses of the Sun (Boston, 1900)

From Mabel Loomis Todd, Total Eclipses of the Sun (Boston, 1900)


Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Marker Monday: Spade Ranch

Marker Monday: Spade Ranch

Nebraska’s Japanese American History

Nebraska’s Japanese American History

The Blacksmith Shop

The Blacksmith Shop

Marker Monday: Long Pine – A Railroad Town

Marker Monday: Long Pine – A Railroad Town

Fred Astaire’s Omaha Origins

Fred Astaire’s Omaha Origins

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.