A rocky outcrop is covered with small round cacti. Wide dusty badlands look like a backdrop for a Wild West movie. High rocky bluffs make the landscape below look miniature. It may come as a surprise to many (even Nebraskans!) that these pictures were taken in Nebraska: just a few examples of Frank Shoemaker’s stunning photographs featured in the Spring 2013 issue of Nebraska History.
In an earlier post we we recalled the effects of the 1890s drought in Nebraska. Unfortunately, it would not be the last.
In 1936, Nebraska farmers were facing similar hardship. The ongoing drought (or “drouth” as it was often spelled) was unrelenting, and continued to produce record-breaking temperatures. The Grand Island Independent (perhaps exaggerating a bit) called it the “worst drouth in climatological history.”
In a land of open fields and apple pie, Southeast Nebraska seemed calm and routine. But in 1958 construction began on a project that was quite the opposite–giant underground bunkers holding long-range Atlas missiles for U.S. defense during the Cold War.