Nebraska As It Was, As It Is, As It Will Be

This assessment of Nebraska’s potential appeared in Brownville’s Nebraska Farmer in the

autumn of 1859:

“It is now nearly four years ago since I, a wanderer from an Eastern State, set my foot for the

first time on the western shore of the ‘rolling, turbulent Missouri.’ I rambled up to the highest

point I could get in order to obtain a view of the country ahead and what a magnificent sight

met my gaze! The vast boundless prairie, rolling and undulating, lay before me like the waves

of a transfixed ocean, green and beautiful, mellowed to a rich glowing color by the setting rays

of the sun, and the rich, heavy massive clouds filled my soul with rapture and delight.

The busy hand of the settler had not yet appeared, with one solitary exception–away on the

prairie stood a lonely looking cabin, tending in a measure to lessen the solitude that seemed to

hang over the vast unbroken expanse of prairie.

“Such was Nebraska four years ago.–And now what a change!! The hand of the magician could

not have effected a more wondrous transformation. A magician truly has been at work; the

name of that magician is ‘Industry,’ brought here by the stout stalwart yeomanry of our land;

they, under its guiding genius, have by unflinching perseverance gone to work, and in four years

have wrought the wondrous changed, the virgin soil of our vast prairies has yielded to the genial

influence of industry, and where the homes of industrious farmers have sprung up, and the soil

of Nebraska now yields willing tribute amply and abundantly to the support of the fastly

increasing population now permanently settling upon her vast domain.

“The spot where I landed four years ago has grown into a large populous city. Four years ago,

all the corn, flour, and potatoes consumed in Nebraska were brought from abroad. Now we can

supply them; we can raise all we can consume, and have an abundance to send abroad.

“What will the next ten years do? The slow plodding ox trains will be replaced by the swift

locomotive. In less than 10 years eastern portions of Nebraska will no longer be considered ‘the

far west.’ In less than ten years Nebraska will have ceased to be a territory. She will have

become a sovereign state, and as such, in all her greatness, will proudly take her place among

the bright constellations of our land, and who then can prophesy her greatness, who can foretell

her destiny?”


–excerpted from J. Garside, Nebraska City

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   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.

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.