Creating the Fruited Plains

During the early years of Nebraska statehood, settlers along the Missouri River began to find life somewhat less burdensome. Road travel, although still rough, presented fewer hazards; railways were constructed across the state; comfortable homes were built, and farms developed from earlier truck patches and gardens. Native trees grew along rivers and streams, but settlers still believed that only one hundred miles west stretched the Great American Desert, and heard with apprehension the oft-repeated saying that nothing ever grew west of Salt Creek, around fifty miles / away. Many remembered their former homes farther East, surrounded by tall shady trees, fertile fields, and fruitful orchards. To them, ·Nebraska presented problems and challenges. ‘ · • Among these settlers, fortunately, were able leaders who envisioned a bright future for the Nebraska prairies. With strong determination and unquenchable optimism, they set out to prove that the abundant resources of Nebraska, if given proper care, could produce forest trees, orchards, and a variety of crops

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Picture of Ezra Stephen’s home in Crete in the late 1800s.

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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.
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