publications

Horse Heaven

Dr. Enos Lowe (1804-80) was one of Omaha’s pioneer settlers, who helped lay out the city in 1853 and served as its first mayor. Historian A. T. Andreas said of Lowe: “The Doctor devoted all of his time and energies to the promotion of the general interest of Omaha . . . , continuing an active worker in the community as long as his health and strength permitted.” The hard-working doctor had a whimsical side, however. A letter from Lowe to the editor of the Omaha Daily Herald, published on July 27, 1875, eulogized one of Lowe’s team of horses, recently “Gone to Horse Heaven,” and revealed plans to bury the second horse beside the first.



“In 1855 I purchased of Gid Robertson a matched team of grey horses which Judge James brought from Dixon, Illinois. The horses were then six or seven years old, their tails nicked skillfully, and nicely set up (a practice which should be prohibited by law, if ever revived) and they were dappled then, and as much alike as two black-eyed peas out of the same pod. At the first and second Douglas county fair they took the premium for the best span, and there are yet a few early settlers who will recollect the perfect and unequalled style and appearance of George and Jim as an attractive street ornament during the first fifteen years of Omaha. They were as kind and affectionate to each other as the best of brothers, and if separated for a moment manifested deep distress. For a quarter of [a] century they had traveled, ate, and slept side by side.



“But less than two years ago, Jim’s left fore ankle was wrenched severely, producing great suffering and swelling, and for months it was almost impossible for him to get up. But instead of subjecting him to the usual in such cases, of penetrating the brain with a bullet, was treated in the kindest, but less economical manner, and thus his life was prolonged until Saturday afternoon, July 24th, 1875, when at the age of 27 years he breathed his last, and now rests, decently buried, and will be affectionately remembered by those he served so well, in connection with the idea of pastures ever green, awaiting the coming of his companion and mate as indispensable to his perfect happiness in the better land.



“In the burial it was arranged for George to take his old place again on the near side of his mate, by and by. Notwithstanding his great age, 27 or 28, George has never learned to speak the English language, but if you could see him as I have seen him since his bereavement, rapidly moving his ears, looking with evident anxiety across into the pasture where he was taken away from his dying companion, and hear his calls of distress, I think you would agree with me that horse talk can easily be understood. I never shall own their like again.”


Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

Other Publications

The Bachelors’ Protective Union of Kearney

When the Bachelors' Protective Union gave a gala reception for two of its newly married, former members and their brides in March of 1890, the social club for young, ...

U.S. Weather Bureau in 1890s Nebraska

The U.S. Weather Bureau was established by an act of Congress on October 1, 1890. It took over the weather service that had been established in the office of the Chief ...

Canning the Way to Victory

During American participation in World War I the U.S. Food Administration, under the direction of Herbert Hoover, launched a massive campaign to persuade Americans to ...

The Shoemaker’s Ashes

"Edward Kuehl, one of the most peculiar characters that ever lived in Omaha, or anywhere else, was found dead in his bed last night in the back room of his place of ...

Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger Foreward

Red Dog, an Oglala Lakota who lived at the Red Cloud Agency, Nebraska, 1876-77 (Nebraska State Historical Society RG2955.ph).   In the summer of 1876, following the ...

Darryl F. Zanuck

Darryl F. Zanuck Darryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979), a native Nebraskan, produced some of Hollywood's most important and controversial films. He helped found 20th Century Fox ...

The Burlington’s Profitable Pork Special

Nebraska railroads were much concerned with developing an adequate economy in the areas they served. The Burlington, for example, had a long history of caring for the ...

Bungalow Filling Stations

After the giant Standard Oil Company was broken into thirty-four separate companies in 1911, the newly independent Standard Oil of Nebraska dominated the state's market ...

The Bull Fight

This is the perfect time of year for a visit to the old fishin' hole. But a group of fisherfolk from Plainview discovered that this bucolic pastime sometimes has ...

Buffalo Soldiers West

African-American soldiers on the western frontier are the focus of an exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln. Buffalo Soldiers West, on loan from the Colorado ...

Protection for Buffalo

The extermination of the buffalo on the Plains occurred largely between 1870 and 1885. The Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln on February 1, 1874, editorialized in vain ...

Buffalo Hunting

In late October 1877 young Rolf Johnson and three friends left their homes in Phelps County, Nebraska, for a buffalo hunt in northeastern Colorado. The hunt was not very ...
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.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

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.
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.