Trailblazers

Nebraska Trailblazer is a newspaper-formatted publication designed specifically for use in the fourth-grade classroom. Each issue presents a subject from Nebraska history in a way that is accessible and appealing to fourth-grade students and can easily be used to supplement your Nebraska history textbooks. All fourth-grade students in Nebraska schools can receive up to four issues of Nebraska Trailblazer free of charge!

We know that adequate funding can be hard to come by for K-12 educators. Thanks to the Foundation's Dorothy Weyer Creigh Memorial Endowment we are able to cover both printing and shipping costs of Nebraska Trailblazer to your school. We hope you'll take advantage of this to bring the fascinating people, places, and stories of our state's past into your fourth-grade classroom.

If we do not receive your order request by June 30, we will not be able to ship your order in September.

 Trailblazer Answers

The Nebraska Trailblazers currently available are:

1. Native Americans. — A brief history of Pawnee Scouts. Includes a map of Indian tribes in Nebraska in mid-l800s, famous Native Americans from Nebraska, a coloring page of a round earthlodge, and a crossword puzzle about Indian tribes.

2. Explorers — Stories about early Nebraska explorers before and after the Louisiana Purchase, including two maps that show their routes.

3. Oregon Trail — Includes illustrations of Nebraska City, Mormon handcarts, Fort Kearny, Rock Creek Station, O'Fallon's Bluff, Chimney Rock, Courthouse Rock, Ash Hollow, Scotts Bluff, and Fort Laramie.

4. Nebraska's First Farmers — Traces farming from prehistoric times through the early 1900s. Illustrations show breaking sod, planting corn, and horse-drawn implements through tractor-drawn equipment of the 1920s. A map, divided into regions, shows Nebraska-grown crops about 1900.

5. Settlers’ Homes — Contrasts early settlers' sod and log houses with Arbor Lodge and the governor's mansion. Also includes pictures of stone, brick, frame, and mud houses.

6. Nebraska Territory — Compares the size of Nebraska Territory with the state today using maps from 1854, 1862, and the current day. Also includes maps showing where state line markers are found, where time zone boundary lines are located, and which Nebraska cities border the Missouri River.

7. Early Settlers — Stories about settlers in Nebraska from prehistoric times to the present, including nomadic Indian hunters and other Indian immigrants, fur traders, missionaries, pioneers from eastern states, and immigrants from Europe.

8. Ranching — The coming of the railroad enabled cattle ranching to begin in Nebraska. A map shows the four main trails on which cattle were driven to railroads in Nebraska. Pictures include ranches, cowboys, longhorn cattle and Herefords, rustlers, a chuck wagon, range wars, and rodeos.

9. Fort Atkinson — From 1820 to 1827 Fort Atkinson was the largest and strongest military post beyond Saint Louis. A map shows the fort's location, Long's expedition, and the early Santa Fe Trail. Pictures include Colonel Henry Atkinson and Major Stephen Long.

10. Railroads — Information about the U.S. Government granting land to railroad companies, surveying and preparing a roadbed, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. Also includes driving the golden spike at Promontory, Utah, maps, and an illustration of how a steam locomotive and a diesel engine work. 

11. A Nebraska Childhood — Features an overview of childhood from pioneer times through the 1930s. Also included are an old Orphan Annie comic strip, instructions for toys made out of cork, a Boy-Kraft magazine ad, and drawings of toys from the 1880s through the 1950s.

12. What's for Lunch? Food Choices of the 1890s — Includes information about food preparation and preservation by Omaha and Sioux Indians, homesteaders, cowboys, soldiers, and European immigrants. Also features pictures of Indians drying beef, Solomon Butcher photos, a song to learn, "Punching the Dough," and instructions for making butter.

13. Banking in Nebraska — Features stories about early banks in Omaha, Bellevue, Brownville, and Nebraska City, and about banking during the Great Depression. A Lincoln Star article tells about a bank robbery in Lincoln in September 1930. 

14. The State Capitol — Includes stories and pictures of Nebraska's many territorial and state capitol buildings. 

15. Nebraska State Symbols — Features information about the state seal, state flag, and other state symbols such as the meadowlark, honeybee, mammoth, goldenrod, and cottonwood tree. 

16. Red Cloud and the Sioux Nation — Featuring information and stories about Red Cloud and the Oglala band of Sioux, including maps and pictures showing various phases of Sioux life.

17. Notable Nebraskans — Contributions to Nebraska and the nation by well-known Nebraskans are described in this issue. Pictured, along with a short summary of their work, are Standing Bear, Buffalo Bill, Malcolm X, William Jennings Bryan, J. Sterling Morton, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Henry Fonda, and others.

18. Aviation in Nebraska — Includes stories of Nebraskans who were involved in early flying ventures, including the Savidges from Ewing and Evelyn Sharp from Ord. Also includes pictures of Charles Lindbergh and his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis.

19. Agribusiness — This text covers some of the changes in agribusiness during the twentieth century. Includes pictures of a fertilizer plant, incubator, distillery, flour mill, stockyards, sugar beet harvesting, coop creamery, silos, tractors, and the College of Agriculture as they appeared in the past.

20. Town Builders — Transportation by river or railroad and available natural resources largely determined the location of towns in early Nebraska. Towns were also built up around forts, road ranches, county seats, and industrial sites. Early views of Nebraska towns, including Center, Hebron, Gibbon, Kearney, Sidney, Nebraska City, and Lincoln are pictured.

21. World War II — December 7, 1941, brought the United States and Nebraska into World War II. Nebraskans made significant contributions to the war effort on the home front and the battlefield. This issue includes photographs of Nebraska soldiers, women workers, and patriotic activities.

22. Nebraska and the Presidents — From Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase to Gerald Ford, presidents and presidential decisions have had large impacts on our state's history. This issue explores the presidents and decisions that have made Nebraska what it is today.

23. Spain on the Plains — Includes stories of Spanish history in the Great Plains, from Coronado's 1541 expedition all the way to the Mexican-American War.

24. Czechs in Nebraska — By 1910, fourteen percent of Nebraska's foreign-born residents were Czech, the largest percentage of any state. Learn why they came to Nebraska and how they adapted to their new home.

25. The Atomic Age in Nebraska — The post-World War II era was characterized by great social and technological change, but was overshadowed by the Cold War. That entire era of Nebraska's history is explored in this issue.

26. William Jennings Bryan — This issue explores the story of a prominent political leader and the only Nebraska resident ever nominated for President of the United States (he lost all three times).

27. Nebraska Archeology — Archeological studies in Nebraska have shed light on how people adapted to survive on the Plains during the past 10,000 years. This issue serves as an introduction to Archeology, emphasizing topics such as preservation and site protection.

28. African American Homesteaders and Soldiers in Nebraska — This issue features photos and memories of African American homesteaders, Buffalo Soldier photos, and the story of a Tenth US Cavalry soldier at Fort Robinson.

29. Mexican Americans in Nebraska — Tells about Mexican immigration to Nebraska from the turn of the nineteenth century onward, includes cultural and religious traditions common in Mexican American communities, and more.

30. The Kansas-Nebraska Act — Reviews the origins of the May 30, 1854 act that created Nebraska and Kansas and its relationship to the slavery debate before the Civil War. This issue also discusses slavery in Nebraska Territory, notes early governors, and shows how the land area of Nebraska changed between 1854 and 1867.

31. Conservation and Preservation — Introduces students to the work done to preserve special things like documents, paintings, and objects so they will survive into the future.

32. The Nebraska Commemorative Quarter — Features information on Chimney Rock, the symbol on the Nebraska Commemorative Quarter. Also includes other design finalists and ways that we identify ourselves as Nebraskans.

33. Governor's Residence — Features of brief history of the places Nebraska governors have lived since 1854, including photographs of the two residences and the nearby Kennard House, home of Nebraska's first secretary of state.

 

Questions? Call or email Sharon Kennedy at (402) 471-4445 or sharon.kennedy@nebraska.gov

Become a History Nebraska Member Today

Learn More