May 2014

Variety of Enclosed Forts on the Northern Plains

Perhaps the most common question asked of staff at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, is “Where’s the fort?” Visitors who are only familiar with Hollywood depictions of forts are often surprised to discover that typical forts on the northern plains had no walls. But historian Thomas Buecker discovered that Hollywood wasn't all wrong – some forts were enclosed. In the Spring 2014 issue of Nebraska History, Buecker categorizes enclosed northern plains forts into five types.

Buy a Meal, Win a Car

Richi Ugai, the proprietor of the Palace Café and Hotel in North Platte, was an innovator when it came to advertising. In 1914, the June 26 issue of the North Platte Semi-Weekly Tribune explained the guidelines for the Palace Café’s Auto Contest. The prize: a Saxon automobile. The contest: spend money on meals or merchandise at the Palace Café—the more you spend, the more votes you receive in the contest. This innovative approach to marketing set Richi Ugai apart from his fellow café owners in North Platte. He was not afraid to spend money to make money.

Feeding Us: The Story of Two Japanese Cafés

At the turn of the century the western railroad industry’s thirst for cheap labor dwindled, leaving thousands of unskilled Chinese and Japanese laborers without a means to support themselves and their families. In Nebraska, about 700 Issei (first generation Japanese immigrants) found themselves without a job, far from the place of their birth. Of these 700, about 200 settled in Scottsbluff to work in the sugar-beet fields for the Great Western Sugar Company. Many others settled along the North Platte Valley and farmed on rented land.

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