October 29, 2022 | Last updated Jun 14, 2023

Nebraska Ship Sails on a Sea of Grass

Wind ship wagon (RG1576.PH2)



“Wind ship wagon now used for traveling over the prairies – from a sketch by our correspondent,” (Source: Leslie’s, NSHS RG1576.PH2)

This illustration appeared in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper with the following article: 



“The Wind Ship of the Prairies: Fort Kearney, May 27, 1860. The prairie ship, which passed here last Saturday, is a very light built wagon, the body rounded in front, something in shape like a boat, to overcome the resistance of the air. The wheels are remarkably light, large and slender, and the whole vehicle strongly built. Two masts somewhat raked carry large square sails, rigged like a ship’s. . . . In front is a large coach lamp, to travel by night when the wind is favorable. . . .The ship hove in sight about eight o’clock in the morning, with a fresh breeze from N.E. by E.; it was running down in a westerly direction for the fort, under full sail across the green prairie. The guard, astonished at such a novel sight, reported the matter to the officer on duty, and we all turned out to view the phenomenon.”

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.