Senator George Norris State Historic Site

Senator George Norris Historic House

Seasonal Hours May 1 - September 30

By Appointment Only

Off-Season Hours October 1 - April 30

Closed

Admission

Free Admission

Contact

Amanda Pinkelman, Historic Sites Coordinator
402-432-0525
amanda.pinkelman@nebraska.gov

Address

706 Norris Avenue
McCook, NE 69001-3142

Senator George Norris

 

George Norris changed rural life by working in a big city—Washington, D.C. As a U.S. Senator, he fathered the Rural Electrification Act that brought electric power to farms across the nation. He changed Nebraska’s government by convincing citizens a one-house Unicameral legislature would serve them best. Norris spent over forty years in the U.S. Congress, fighting to make life better for the common people. This humble house in McCook served as his home base from 1902 to 1944. The house and all its furnishings were donated to History Nebraska by Norris's wife, Ellie, in 1968.

Who influenced him to become so future-minded? Did Norris influence a future generation of public servants? We interviewed three community leaders in McCook, Nebraska, to investigate these questions. Watch here to find out more.

Bring this story of a life-long public servant to your school. History Nebraska is now offering a Distance Learning Program that will take students into George Norris’s home* to see even more artifacts and photos and investigate these public servant questions. Contact Jessica Stoner at jessica.stoner@nebraska.gov for more information.

*Depending on availability, the program may also take place at the Nebraska History Museum.

Senator Norris

George Norris

George Norris represented Nebraska in Congress for over forty years. And he changed not just Nebraska, but the entire U.S. Norris believed that everyone should have access to electricity and sponsored the Rural Electrification Act. Some thought his controversial support for public power was socialistic or un-American. The REA ran into some resistance, but passed and brought new light and new life to farms across the country

A Republican, Norris ignored party lines to align his votes with his beliefs. Norris felt the two-party system was outdated and unnecessary. He set off around Nebraska campaigning for a non-partisan, one-house state legislature. In 1934 Nebraskans voted to create the nation’s only unicameral legislature. It first convened in 1937.  

Norris’s big ideas originated in a little house in McCook. After his very long career in government he returned to his home base until his death in 1944.  

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