Forests in Nebraska

Nebraska’s forestry exhibit at the World’s Columbian Exposition, held in 1893 in Chicago’s Jackson Park, was located in a special building among similar exhibits from other states. The Lincoln Evening News of June 9, 1893, described the display:

“No one is more agreeably surprised than a Nebraskan who enters the Forestry building and sees the splendid display his state has made. People do not expect much of Nebraska in a timber way and that is what causes the surprise. The section in which the display is made is in the northeast corner of the building and the general design of the pagoda is rustic. The principal feature is a rustic arch which stands in the center of the space. It is surmounted by a natural graft of the letter ‘N,’ loaned by D. E. High of Lebanon. One face of the arch contains the inscription, ‘712,000,000 of Trees Planted in One Year.’ The other side reads, ‘Nebraska, the Tree Planter State.’

“The exhibit contains 181 specimens of different varieties of trees grown in Nebraska. These are polished to show the grain and are fixed around the base of the arch. There are also a large number of log discs which have been presented by different people throughout the state, most of which are native woods. These are arranged into a railing for the pagoda. Among them is a large disc of white cottonwood 6 feet, 6 inches in diameter. There is also a splendid maple disc, which is said to be the largest specimen known, and a beautiful specimen of hackberry and black walnut. One of the most unique specimens and one which no one would think of looking in a Nebraska exhibit to find, is a red cedar log, which grew in Keya Paha county. Another specimen which attracts attention is a section of an apple tree cut from J. Sterling Morton’s home.

“Ex-Governor Furnas’ collection of the woods of the world is the finest exhibited in the building. . . . The State university has sent a very complete collection of tree destroying insects found in the state. They are in glass cases and add much to the display. The vine exhibit is also something unique and something which none of the other states have shown.

“On the rear wall hangs a colored map of the state on which in red ink is shown the distribution of the native trees. . . . On the wall near this map is a life size crayon of J. Sterling Morton, the father of Arbor Day. It is the intention of those who have the exhibit in charge to interest people in Arbor Day work, and small pamphlets, descriptive of it, will be distributed from the pavilion.

“There is only one freak in the collection and that is a horseshoe imbedded in the heart of a portion of a tree. . . . The tree was cut in the spring of 1893 and the shoe found embedded in the center thereof.”

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