The weather was gorgeous today so off to Pioneer
Village in Minden, Nebraska we went.
All of the items and buildings in Pioneer Village have been purchased, none were donated. Harold Warp, owner, founded it in 1953. He planned the village and wrote the descriptions appearing on the cards. He made his fortune as manufacturer of flex-o-glass and other plastics. Harold Warp built the village to show children how the country was built. The beautiful thing about it is a non-profit foundation.
There are over 50,000 items and 28 buildings (some with 2nd floors) on 20 acres.
I had visited this back in the late 70's or 80's and it hasn't changed much in that time. I warned Bill as we started out in the first building that he might not want to spend the time to read every card or description on every item.
Our first stop was the main building which had a display of transportation and more than 10,000 items. It was all arranged in chronological order.
The remarkable thing about all the displays is they had all the original accessories for most items. The bucket hanging in the middle is to churn butter over the bumpy roads. Maybe we should try that on some of the interstates.
This was an affluent persons private limo. It had a flip down bar in the back for the passengers to use when they were changing the horse teams.
I found this one unusual. It was used to transport visitors to Yellowstone. Most wagons were burned but this one was found in Phoenix in 1967.
There are 350 antique autos. They were displayed with only a few inches between them. Notice the airplanes hanging from the ceilings.
Bill's still reading all the signs. I don't think he's even seen the train that runs around the building or the planes overhead.
Formerly living in West Virginia I was surprised to learn that John D Rockefeller made his millions by selling Perfection Kerosene, Polaraine Machine Oil and Mica Axle Grease.
This oil wagon from around 1880 to 1920 was a familiar sight. At one time the Standard Oil Company owned 67,000 horses and mules that pulled 25,000 of these oil wagons.
An 1850 "RV" or Gypsy Wagon.
Most are very rare since the common practice is to burn the wagon and all it's personal belongings when the owner dies.
Here's Bill in the Elm Creek Fort built in 1859. It's the first log cabin in Webster County used as a dwelling and a fort against Indian attacks. The furnishings are authentic.
What a jewel! This building came from Stamford, Nebraska.
It was well stocked. It even had an original Fort Kearney mailbox.
There was a jail as well as old fire engines complete with a collection of fire extinguishers.
I can't believe neither Bill or I didn't get a picture of the land office. This is where the original homestead title for John N Warp's land was recorded.
Lowell Depot was built from 1872 to 1882 and was the western terminus of the railroad.
Seven layers of floors one on top of the other were discovered during restoration.
This sod house was fully furnished including a trundle bed.
There was a school house, china house, merry-go-round, windmills, and church.
The Warp's parents were good Christians so the hayloft boards were laid rough side up in the barn, so young folks couldn't have barn dances.
We skipped the farm machinery building, the antique tractor and truck building, and the agricultural building and steam tractors.
There were three more buildings of cars. The first building was 22,400 square feet and two floors.
I think we could trade ours for this one. We might get better mileage.
Interior shots through the screen door.
I thought maybe we might need this emergency unit to get us out of there. I was glad I wore good walking shoes.
Needless to say even though we were exhausted by now, Bill enjoyed the Pony Express Station which was an authentic log station that served as Pumkinseed relay station to the Black Hills along with Buffalo Bill's saddle.
The last building included a small gun collection but Bill studied it anyway.
There were other buildings we skipped or just glanced through--blacksmith shop, pony express barn, home appliance building and hobby house.
There was so much we were on overload. I would suggest to anyone visiting it to pick out the areas of interest to you first and then go back to see the other areas.
Bill's comment when he signed the guest book was "overwhelming."
We headed back the 15 or so miles to Kearney and decided since we were out we'd get the oil changed on the truck. We ended up going to a Big O and they said it would take about an hour. There was a Cost Cutters so I got a quick haircut and then we walked next door to Walmart for some bread. By the time we got back to the truck it was almost done.
The truck was done and so were Bill and I. We headed back home and collapsed on the couch.