Homestead National Monument & Gage County Museum
Trip Start Aug 12, 2013
46Trip End Oct 02, 2013
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Where I stayed
I checked out of my hotel and headed for the Homestead National Monument of America. The first part of the monument I reached is their visitor center which they call the Heritage Center. I went in and watched their movie. They also have a museum about homesteading that I went through.
The monument is on the property of the person considered the first homesteader although there were others who filed their claims the same day. There's a small cabin near the visitor center but it belonged to another homesteader and was moved here. I went and checked it out. The original homesteader and his wife were buried on the property. I walked over to their graves.
There's also an old one-room schoolhouse. It's close enough to walk and they mow a trail through the tall-grass prairie they've restored on the property but I decided to drive. On the way there I came across the Education Center. I stopped in and found a traveling exhibit on President Lincoln. I checked it out before heading for the school.
I had been told that the school would be open but it wasn't. I peeked in the windows and looked around. The school had been in use from 1872 until 1967. Having graduated in a class of nearly a thousand students, it's hard for me to imagine what it would be like going to a one-room school.
I headed back to Beatrice to go to the Gage County Historical Society and Museum. The museum had a lot of information about the founding of Beatrice and many other nearby towns. It had lots of displays with objects from local businesses and rural life. One room had a large collection of local women's wedding dresses going back to the late 1800s,
I learned that Beatrice was named after the daughter of one of the founders of the town. It seems she never visited the town named after her. I also learned it is pronounced Be-AT-rice, which I was told is the French pronunciation of the name and the way the person it was named for pronounced it. I also learned that Beatrice Foods got their start in town and that it's also supposed to be pronounced Be-AT-rice.
After going through the museum I headed toward Colorado Springs, CO. I stopped in Colby, KS for the night.