agriculture

Finding Nebraska's Ghost Towns

Oh, the Irony

Thrive in the Thriving ThirtiesThe designer of this 1930 advertising stationery didn’t know it yet, but the expression “Thriving Thirties” was not going to catch on. Printed by the Epsten Lithographing Co.

The Ruins along Highway 2

Highway 2 through the Sandhills is one of Nebraska’s most scenic drives. Deep in the Sandhills lakes country, near the tiny town of Antioch, stand desolate, oddly-shaped concrete ruins visible from the highway—as if Antioch had once been a much larger city, or home to some inexplicably large enterprise. And that’s pretty much what happened during World War I when Antioch became a potash boomtown.

Cherry Day at the Watson Ranch

In 1888, H. D. Watson established the historic Watson Ranch, at one time containing 8,000 acres, reaching from the fertile Platte Valley on the south to the rolling hills on the north and from downtown Kearney to a point five miles west. During its existence, the ranching operations were devoted to grains, poultry, vegetables, and a 250-acre fruit orchard, primarily of cherry, peach, plum, and apple trees.

This noble Moses P. Kinkaid

On April 28, 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt signed a bill sponsored by Moses P. Kinkaid of O’Neill, which allowed homesteaders to claim 640 acres of land in certain parts of western Nebraska where smaller farms were impractical. Most of the new farmers, called Kinkaiders, had higher hopes than they ever had profits. “The Kinkaider Comes and Goes,” the title of a 1930 article by Mari Sandoz, telegraphs the end of the story. Still, the Kinkaid Act brought many people and and some permanent settlement to the Sandhills.

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