Thursday, August 31, 2023

Neligh Mill Historical Park Stop #  40 pg # 47

We last visited this park a long time ago, maybe around 30 years ago.  We're not sure if any changes have happened.  I read that an old wooden elevator that used to be on the site has been removed but I'm not sure.  

I do know that the Elkhorn river channel has changed but not in 2019 like so many other flood changes that took place in Nebraska.  This one happened in 2010.  The river washed out the south embankment from the bridge.  The main channel now flows south of the old bridge instead of under it.  The bridge is still in use and has a pretty good weight limit.

Not a good photo.  The extension added on the far end is about 100' long.  You'll just have to check it out in person.

The mill itself is also getting some reconstruction.  Much of the old footings and original timbers under the mill are being replaced.  Inside, most of the old machinery is still in place right where it always was.

Here you see one of the grain rollers with the top removed so the rollers are visible.  All those wooden tubes behind it are belt elevators.  The grain usually had to go through the rollers multiple times.  For the really best flour it could have been as many as 14 times.

After milling, it went to the bagging station. The bags were filled by hand.  You may have noticed all the flat belts all over.  Everything was run by water power for the first few years, which turned a large shaft that then distributed power to other smaller shafts.  A dam on the river brought water to a turbine outside that turned the main shaft in the basement.

After two floods which broke the dam each time, they went to electricity to run the main shaft.  Surprisingly, during the whole operating time of the mill, no one was ever killed and only one serious injury occurred.  The mill operated from 1874 until 1969.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Civil War Veterans Museum Stop # 39 pg # 46

Seeing a Civil War Museum in Nebraska was a surprise for me.  I guess I never gave it a thought since Nebraska wasn't even a state until almost 2 years after the war ended.

The building is something I hadn't seen before.  As you can see, the name on the building is G. A. R. Memorial Hall.  It stands for Grand Army of the Republic which was a fraternal organization of veterans of the Union Army from the civil war.  There were numerous buildings around the country serving as meeting halls for these men.  I think there are 6 still in Nebraska.  The highest membership in this organization came in 1890 which counted 410,000 people.

The museum briefly tells the story of the Civil War from before it started to after its conclusion.

Most of this was taught in school history classes but like many of you, I didn't really like history then.  I think that was somewhat due to teacher's presentation styles back then.  But certainly our (I mean most of us students) attention was not on what happened over a hundred years ago.  NOW, I find it very interesting.

I hope this photo can be expanded enough to read.  The timeline depicts all the major events of the war.

This is a rough depiction of what a field officer's tent might have looked like.  

Here is a look at what some of the money looked like then.

The 1st Nebraska Infantry was mustered in June of 1861.  They remained in the service until being disbanded in June of 1866.  In August of 1864 they were sent back to Omaha and on to Fort Kearny to assist in the settlement of the area.

Several amendments to the constitution were enacted after the Civil War.

Many changes took place after the war.  Some of those are briefly discussed here.  

This museum is really interesting.  There's also a gift shop in a side room where you can find several items of interest, including several books.  Oddly, Shelby Foote's books are not there.  If you ever go there and have even a slight interest in the Civil War, this is a great place for a brief overview.  Also worth mentioning, all the guns are actual guns from that period, not replicas.  (Anyway, that's what I was told).  Plan on at least an hour here, two is even better.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

 Kiechel Fine Art Stop # 32 pg # 38

When we walked in, the main floor was all but empty.  The young lady behind the counter told us they were getting ready for an art show.  This floor is used by artists to put their works on display.  They specialize in 19th and 20th century American Art, Old Master and Contemporary Prints.  Also, they have Regional and National Contemporary art. 

This is the fourth art gallery on the Passport but this one was a business buying and selling art.  We had a very nice visit with the owner and her daughter.  Yet again, we learned even more about art and artists.  I'm telling you I am going to have to take some kind of art class to get an understanding of what makes one piece more valuable than others.  

For example, I don't remember what this was called but it's a very expensive piece.  We were not allowed to take photos upstairs in the gallery, but we did find another Henri painting up there.  (Remember, that's the artist in Cozad that first opened my eyes to extremely valuable art).  Much of the art in the gallery didn't have a price.  It had a tag saying "POR", price on request.  Once again, we were '"wowed" by the artists' works and the beauty of them.  It amazes both of us how each artist sees something and uniquely expresses it.  

These small pieces were on the first floor, but I didn't check any prices here.  If you are seriously thinking about finding just the right piece for your home or office, they offer a service to come to your location to discuss possibilities.  Check out this beautiful gallery and see for yourselves the beauty in all of the pieces on display.

Wayside Barn Shoppe Stop # 66 pg # 11

The Wayside Barn Shoppe is in a rural area close to Stella, NE.  The shoppe is located in a 1904 barn, complete with a loft area.  It has been featured on Pure Nebraska. 

This is Dona and Lonnie, owners of the Shoppe.  Super friendly folks and a real pleasure to visit with.  

They grow gourds on their acreage and drill holes in them to make bird houses.  I don't know what kind of birds use them.  I saw several come and go from the gourds mounted outside.  The barn holds all kinds of antiques, gift items and craft items.  The owners of the shoppe live on the acreage with the barn and told us all about the history and how the idea of the shoppe came into being.

They showed us some desks that were found in the loft of the barn that were in great shape. They were the type of desks that Frank and I sat in at grade school.  Upstairs in the old hay loft is a bunch of holiday items.  I didn't ask but now I wonder if they light up all the Christmas decorations when in season.

 Their house is also quite unique.  It was built with an architecture style we've never seen before.  It must have been a really complex build when it was constructed.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Diana's Papillion Tea Shop Stop # 52 pg # 35

Diana's Papillion Tea Shop is located in a nice looking area on Washington street, with several attractive stores.  It has lots of room for customers to relax and visit over a cup of their favorite tea.

 And they certainly will have your favorite tea.  My gosh, I have never seen so many tea flavors.  

I had one of the Earl Grey flavors they carry.  I believe there were 3 different ones.  It was very good but then that's my favorite kind of tea.  We ended up buying a blend to enhance sleep, Cindy wanted to give that a try.  I tried it too, but I usually sleep good anyway.  She isn't sure she can tell the difference.

They have decorated their shop in a Japanese theme.  The rooms are small and actually quite comfortable and relaxing.

There is a small desk where you can set up your computer, if you like.

As you can see here, there is information as to the health benefits of the various teas.

Monday, August 7, 2023

Niobrara Valley Vineyards Stop # 41 pg # 34

Niobrara Valley Vineyards is a vineyard located in the picturesque Sandhills.  I really love the Sandhills and I also like wine so I was really excited to check it out.  Their history is really interesting.  They started with a passion to become self-sustaining with a small ranch in the Nebraska Sandhills. The first vines were planted in 2002.  The popularity of their wines led to several expansion projects.

This is the tasting room with several tables and stools at the bar.

They are currently constructing a new tasting room and event center, an RV Park with 10 hook-ups, and a mile long walking pathway that winds through the vineyard to the RV park and up to the new tasting room and event center.  The current room has been in service since 2014 at this location but will be moving by the end of the year.  We were the first ones here on this day and Jennie took very good care of us.

Take note of all the award winning bottles behind Jennie.  Of course, I did wine tastings while we were there and they were all delicious.  I like the sweeter wines, but I did taste a very good semi-dry wine.  I definitely hope to go back. 

Jennie stamped our Passports and then a rush of people came in.  She got very busy very quickly.  

Every table plus the bar had customers.  I'm talking to some folks from Lincoln and several of the folks there were very interested in the Nebraska Passport.  It's already a very popular tourism program in the state but I think we might have gotten a couple more for next year.  We visited every single table and those at the bar.  We were there about half an hour longer than we expected but it was fun talking to all the people there.

You can go to their website to see the full history of the winery,, and see the kind of wines they have, but I highly recommend that you check the winery out in person if you get a chance. 

Circle C Market Stop # 11 pg # 42

Circle C Market in Cody, NE is the result of a community wanting to provide a unique learning lab for students.   It is run as a non-profit social enterprise with the primary purpose of serving the community and educating students.  

This is a unique store for a couple of reasons.  One, it's built from straw and two, it's run by high school students.  It's probably obvious for anyone who knows what straw is, that the walls would be very thick.  

We found it interesting that the store is able to financially support itself.  I just thought it would have to be subsidized to keep operating but I guess not, according to the student on duty.  Then I figured the students must be taking turns as volunteers.  Nope, they are paid to work here.  

Naturally, the brand selection will be small, but they do have pretty much any category of items you probably want.  In a small town such as Cody, this must be a welcome endeavor for the students since employment opportunities for high school students can't be very common.  It was very neat and well stocked.  I want to give credit to everyone in the community and the teachers for coming up with this idea, and of course the students to take on such a project.  Well done everyone, keep up the good work.  

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Whiteclay Marketspace Stop # 70 pg # 31

This is another surprise place on the passport.  Inside were things we were totally surprised to find.  First off, we find Ledger Art.  Never heard of that but Cindy's holding an explanation in this photo.  To read it, you will have copy it and zoom in.

It's kind of a unique idea although since I'm not an artist, maybe it's common.  Anyway, the piece Cindy is holding is painted on a copy of a page from an OLD Dawes County Ledger book.

In a back room, the next surprise was a quilting machine.  A second one is behind me.  Cindy and I don't know anything about quilting, but I suppose anyone who sees this will immediately recognize it.

Moving on we next came across an art supply room and workshop.  Those light yellow sheets are leather and the tan ones underneath are soft leather.  Both are ready to use.  There are so many supplies in this room, I couldn't even begin to know what they're all used for.

There are also samples of art done by an indigenous artist.  I forget where he lives, might be Denver or Omaha.  Sorry, I didn't make a note of that.

This place is available for any of the area indigenous people to come and learn different skills, working with all manner materials.  Some make jewelry, some paint, some work with leather, some sew.  They're also in the process of installing a photo and video studio.  This is a fair distance from eastern NE, but I hope people take time to drive up and look around.

Bulldogger's BBQ Stop # 67 pg # 27

We arrived here at the same time as another couple from Omaha who were also out collecting Nebraska Passport stops.  We met them at Niobrara Valley Vineyards and we were both heading home for the day.  Got home kind of late that night.  We took our pulled pork home with us.

We didn't expect a fast-food restaurant for BBQ takeout.  Hope it works for them, the food is very good.  There is some space and tables outside while the weather is agreeable.  There were quite a few people coming up to order while we waited.  The aroma will certainly get your mouth watering while you wait.

The menu is attached to the glass, but this photo didn't work too well.  I should have gotten my actual camera with a polarizer filter to reduce the reflection.

They do something very thoughtful, listed on the left-hand signboard.  They honor military, indigenous people and first responders with 10% off.  Thank you for the considerate gesture.  

Riverside Discovery Center  Stop 60 pg. 15 Once again, we missed this from being open by minutes.  Darn it!  The lights were still on but no...