Beatrice

 

On this day in 1861, one man shoots another and a legend is born.

Before automobiles and radios made the world a smaller place, it could be challenging for adults in rural areas to gain access to the kinds of cultural and educational opportunities that were common in large cities. The solution was the Chautauqua movement, which began in New York in the 1870s. By the 1880s, inter-state Chautauqua assemblies had reached Nebraska, bringing lectures, music, and other cultural programs.

Walsh at Chadron 26459

The star attraction of the 1911 Dawes County Fair in Chadron, held September 12-15, was the twice-daily exhibition flights by barnstormer Charles F. Walsh (1877-1912)

This milk delivery wagon, photographed in Lincoln on April 6, 1942, is a mixture of old and new: rubber tires, a glassed-in compartment for the driver—and a horse for power.

Beatrice Creamery Company milk wagon, 1942

How does one transform a prairie town into a thriving cultural center? When a town desires to strengthen the moral fiber of its citizens, protect its young people from vice, and attract the “most desirable class of people” what route does it take? In the early 1870s, those were the questions that the people of Beatrice wanted to answer. Each of them had moved west with their own dreams and ambitions. Many of them held idealized visions of the healthy, thriving city that they intended to forge out of the prairie grass.

Concert Trio with Donald Abbott and Arlington Brugh (RG5747.AM, p. 14)The Library/Archives recently acquired a scrapbook relating to Donald Abbott of Beatrice and then Lincoln, Nebraska. Abbott was born in Illinois in 1912 and later moved with this family to Beatrice.

On April 22, 1857, on board the steamer Hannibal anchored on the Missouri River, a small group of passengers met to form a settlement organization, which they named “The Nebraska Association.” One of the organization’s first orders of business was to form a “locating committee” charged to “explore Nebraska and select a townsite.” Nebraska Association, minute book (NSHS RG33</body></html>

The NSHS Archives holds a small collection relating to the Beatrice Starch Manufacturing Company of Beatrice, Nebraska. The collection consists of a minute book which records minutes of meetings, by-laws, stockholder information, etc. Also included are photocopies of a corn starch box label.

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