Nebraska Prairie Museum

Nebraska Prairie Museum A historical, interactive resource, through the collection of artifacts, archival documents, and memorabilia that explain the lifestyles of the past.
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The Nebraska Prairie Museum, located in Holdrege, Nebraska, contains an exceptionally fine collection of over one acre of indoor exhibits. Once inside, you get a feeling of spaciousness as you view collections of period clothing, antique toys, farm equipment, tools and household items, a unique W.W.II German POW exhibit room, and much more!

Operating as usual

Here's some more pics from the ESU #11 Quiz Bowl held on January 20th.
01/26/2021

Here's some more pics from the ESU #11 Quiz Bowl held on January 20th.

Nebraska State Hand Cornhusking
01/26/2021

Nebraska State Hand Cornhusking

Mark Your Calendars!

The 2021 Nebraska State Hand Cornhusking & Fall Festival will be held once again at the Nebraska Prairie Museum in Holdrege, Nebraska on Saturday, September 25, 2021.

More information will be posted later.

01/25/2021

The Prairie Museum will be closed today due to the sky having a bad case of dandruff today.

On Wednesday,  January 20th, the Nebraska Prairie Museum hosted the ESU#11 Elementary Quiz Bowl. The questions were hard...
01/22/2021

On Wednesday, January 20th, the Nebraska Prairie Museum hosted the ESU#11 Elementary Quiz Bowl. The questions were hard, but these kids are smart! The competition was tough, but after the double elimination contest, Holdrege won 1st Place, Cambridge won 2nd Place, and Alma won 3rd Place! Congratulations!

Museum Reference Room Update:The genealogy library volunteers are hard at work re-organizing all the many newspaper arch...
01/09/2021

Museum Reference Room Update:
The genealogy library volunteers are hard at work re-organizing all the many newspaper archive boxes in the Museum’s Reference Room. The Reference Room was damaged during the 2019 flood, and these many newspaper archives were put in the humidity controlled POW Center to protect them from moisture. The group is now putting them back in their rightful home.

Old Bertrand Photos.
01/02/2021

Old Bertrand Photos.

Here's an article from a 2012 Stereoscope written by Susan Perry.
01/02/2021

Here's an article from a 2012 Stereoscope written by Susan Perry.

From the Stereoscope July 2011Does Anyone Play Checkers Anymore? By Susan Perry The Nebraska Prairie Museum has a very u...
12/30/2020

From the Stereoscope July 2011

Does Anyone Play Checkers Anymore?
By Susan Perry

The Nebraska Prairie Museum has a very unique picture board in its possession. When the Nebraska Checkers Association disbanded because of waning interest in this hobby, they presented the museum with the Nebraska Checkers Association Hall of Fame display. It features the 10 gentlemen who won several titles over the years. Three of those pictured were from this immediate area. L.T. Brooking from Funk competed in 26 tournaments, and held 4 titles. Adolph Carlson, also of Funk, competed in the same number of tournaments and won 3 times. Ernest Clay of Holdrege was in competition 17 times and won 3 times too. An interesting sidelight is that one of these men, Leslie Green of Omaha (an African American) entered four tournaments and won four times. Other area men listed who participated over the years were George Johnson, Allen Anderson, Fred Horn, Paul Burgeson, Walter Carlson, John and Ed Anderson of Funk. In 1935 these last five challenged the "Kearney experts" to an evening of checkers and came home the winners. Fred Horn, that same year, brought home a state championship in Class B checkers.

Class A--Class B--two tiers of checkers were played in every championship tourney. When Holdrege hosted the players for the fourth time in 1955 an article was run in the paper explaining the play of the two days. The "Battle of the Boards" procedure is as follows: "Contestants are divided into two groups with each group receiving players as equal in ability as possible. Then each player will start a round-robin in each group. The five highest in each group will then be classified as Class A and will play a round-robin. The remaining players will be in Class B. The four highest Class A players will be semi-finalists and pairings will then be drawn for the finals."

Allen Anderson reached the semifinals several times, and finished second at least twice. Many men played in the tournaments 30-40 years. L.T.Brooking from Funk was one of the earliest contestants, and challenged in the tournaments when he was in his late 70's. A.M. Voss from Lincoln played in his first tourney at the age of 25 in 1902. After being out of competition well into the 20's, he began playing again and was in almost 40 tournaments, never quite achieving the top spot. In 1955, at the age of 79, he finally took home the trophy. Ironically, he had donated a new one to replace the worn one, so he was the first recipient of his own gift! He listed "concentration and the ability to outguess the challenger across the table as the essentials of a good checker player." He won over Ernest Clay, drawing in three games out of four. The next year Clay won the title for the third time.

Over the years Holdrege was often the site of the tournament. (The pictures accompanying this article were taken in Holdrege.)

Throughout the 60s and early 70s Lloyd Mills of Lincoln became the perennial winner and the man to beat. By the time the tournaments were no longer held, he had amassed 46 state tournaments and 38 titles. At the height of the game's popularity many players were registered to compete. In 1955, 25 came to play. In the late 60s the numbers were falling till in 1973 only seven were registered. Mr. Mills then said that "we may have reached the end of the line."
No one may be playing checkers anymore, but the quote on the Hall of Fame Honor Roll says what was and can be gained from trying this sport. "One who rises to the challenge along the road to victory and glory. He keeps his goals in sight and respects his competitor and the rules of the game."

*Editor’s Note: The Phelps County Sports Room has a special display just for Checkers. The Sports Room is currently under construction, but will soon be available for visitors.

Happy Holidays to you and your family from the Nebraska Prairie Museum!
12/23/2020

Happy Holidays to you and your family from the Nebraska Prairie Museum!

Plum Creek Exploredby Patti SimpsonOn November 3, 2020, a small group of volunteers drove out to Dave and Sue Young’s fa...
12/03/2020

Plum Creek Explored
by Patti Simpson

On November 3, 2020, a small group of volunteers drove out to Dave and Sue Young’s farm located just north of the Historic Plum Creek Cemetery in northern Phelps County. The purpose was to explore the area with metal detectors and mark it with landscaping paint to get an idea of where the Plum Creek Post Office and Thomas Ranch were located. Drones were also used to view the area from above.

After several hours of investigating, it was agreed that the original old drawings of the area where the buildings were located at are probably correct. Since the Plum Creek Military Post was not discovered, it is assumed that the old drawings with the Post located west of the Post Office and Thomas Ranch is correct. Because the Post is believed located on private property, it was not possible to explore that area.

Volunteers who worked on the project were Phelps County Historical Society Board Member, Rod Waldrip; and volunteers: Fred Diedrichsen; Dave Black; and Roger Spencer. Plum Creek book authors, Sandra Slater and Patti Simpson also showed up for a short time to take some photos.

The research was needed so the volunteers could reproduce the area on a small scale Plum Creek display currently being designed for the Nebraska Prairie Museum. With so much Plum Creek history here in Phelps County, the Museum has set aside an all new area to encompass everything Plum Creek. The new area is currently under construction and will hopefully be completed later this summer.

As a reminder with the holiday season here! Use Smile.Amazon to donate to your favorite Non-Profit free of charge to you...
12/01/2020
AmazonSmile: You shop. Amazon gives.

As a reminder with the holiday season here! Use Smile.Amazon to donate to your favorite Non-Profit free of charge to you. Every purchase made through Amazon Smile is a free donation to the Non-Profit you select!
https://smile.amazon.com/

Shop at smile.amazon.com and we’ll donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to your favorite charitable organization—no fees, no extra cost.

This is the earliest known photo of Holdrege, Nebraska.
11/28/2020

This is the earliest known photo of Holdrege, Nebraska.

Nebraska Prairie Museum – Holdrege, NebraskaSports Room Gets A New Lookby Patti SimpsonThe Nebraska Prairie Museum’s Spo...
11/27/2020

Nebraska Prairie Museum – Holdrege, Nebraska
Sports Room Gets A New Look
by Patti Simpson

The Nebraska Prairie Museum’s Sports Room is getting reorganized and updated. Since its beginning in 2001, the Sports Room has accumulated a treasure of Phelps County sports memorabilia. It houses a large variety of sports including baseball, basketball, football, golf, fishing, hunting, horseshoe, roller skating and more! In 2011, Warner Carlson, his daughter, Beth Larson and his grandson Jonathan Larson updated the area with the help of Bill Perry’s carpentry skills.
Now, once again the Sports Room is getting a make-over. The new design features partition areas that will showcase individual sports with special lighting and graphics. Bill Perry is once again our go-to carpenter and designer, and Warner Carlson with the help of our Exec. Director, Micah Huyser will select and layout the individual sport areas. Not to worry, the Phelps County Sports Wall of Honor is still in its original place, featuring the many athletes and teams honored over the years.

Right now the area is “under construction,” but we will let everyone know when it is up and ready for visitors!
Please stop by the Museum soon to take a look at all of our new and freshly updated exhibits. With over 65,000 square feet of historical artifacts, there is literally something for everyone! The Museum is now opened during its winter hours: Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Admission is by free-will donation.

Stereoscope – Jan 2017Phelps County Celebrates Nebraska Centennial with Old Settlers’ Picnic—1967by Patti SimpsonMany of...
11/26/2020

Stereoscope – Jan 2017
Phelps County Celebrates Nebraska Centennial with Old Settlers’ Picnic—1967
by Patti Simpson

Many of our readers will remember little or nothing about this part of our county’s history. The first “Old Settlers Picnic” was held in 1919 at the Peterson’s Summer Resort. The Resort was owned by two brothers, Oscar Peterson and Arthur Peterson on the land that, Dr. Theo. A. Peterson was born in a sod house. The resort was located about 12 miles north of Loomis, then 2 1/2 miles east of the south end of the Overton river bridge on the Platte River.

At the suggestion of a farmer, John C. Bohmker, who lived two miles southwest of the resort, an Old Settler’s Picnic was planned to celebrate and honor the first settlers, and what better place to have the event then at the Peterson Resort!

The resort had been a favorite picnic spot for many Phelps County residents since 1909. It was the only place in Phelps County where a small place had been dammed up to make a lake. Oscar Peterson even had a boat and charged a nickel a ride.

The Old Settlers Picnic gave the young a chance to get together with the pioneers of the community and reminisce about the history of our county. Prominent individuals such as the governor of Nebraska, political candidates and other worldly individuals were the speakers of the event and local groups provided music.

The Settlers Picnic was an annual event until 1939 when the event stopped because of the severe drought and depressed conditions. Each year the picnic was promoted with advertising. Prominent people came to speak to the group. A platform was there for use by the ministers, song leaders and speakers. The spectators sat on plank benches. A parade was a usual event, horse shoe pitching contests and exhibitions filled an afternoon, and the picnic closed with a campfire and flares.

The event was revived one last time at the Old Peterson Summer Resort on August 13, 1967 under the sponsorship of the Phelps County Historical Society and Dr. Theodore Peterson in celebration of Nebraska’s 100th birthday. A parade of the old settlers began the festivities and included a speech by then Governor Val Peterson and Ted Stutheit,

Superintendent of Fort Kearny State Park. Arthur W. Swanson led the singing and Dr. Theo. Peterson slaughtered one of his buffalos to provide buffalo burgers for the picnickers. Fifty of the oldest citizens were honored for their contributions to the growth of Nebraska. Religious services were held in the evening by Carl Dahlstedt, Rev. Hoseth of Westmark, Rev. Gabrielson of Moses Hill, Rev. Hall of Bethel Lutheran of Holdrege and the Salvation Army from North Platte and Kearney, whom Dr. Peterson had long supported.

Hard to believe it’s now time to celebrate another milestone. Happy 150th Birthday Nebraska!

—end

Stereoscope – Jan 2017Phelps County Celebrates Nebraska Centennial with Old Settlers’ Picnic—1967by Patti SimpsonMany of...
11/25/2020

Stereoscope – Jan 2017
Phelps County Celebrates Nebraska Centennial with Old Settlers’ Picnic—1967
by Patti Simpson

Many of our readers will remember little or nothing about this part of our county’s history. The first “Old Settlers Picnic” was held in 1919 at the Peterson’s Summer Resort. The Resort was owned by two brothers, Oscar Peterson and Arthur Peterson on the land that, Dr. Theo. A. Peterson was born in a sod house. The resort was located about 12 miles north of Loomis, then 2 1/2 miles east of the south end of the Overton river bridge on the Platte River
At the suggestion of a farmer, John C. Bohmker, who lived two miles southwest of the resort, an Old Settler’s Picnic was planned to celebrate and honor the first settlers, and what better place to have the event then at the Peterson Resort!

The resort had been a favorite picnic spot for many Phelps County residents since 1909. It was the only place in Phelps County where a small place had been dammed up to make a lake. Oscar Peterson even had a boat and charged a nickel a ride.

The Old Settlers Picnic gave the young a chance to get together with the pioneers of the community and reminisce about the history of our county. Prominent individuals such as the governor of Nebraska, political candidates and other worldly individuals were the speakers of the event and local groups provided music.

The Settlers Picnic was an annual event until 1939 when the event stopped because of the severe drought and depressed conditions. Each year the picnic was promoted with advertising. Prominent people came to speak to the group. A platform was there for use by the ministers, song leaders and speakers. The spectators sat on plank benches. A parade was a usual event, horse shoe pitching contests and exhibitions filled an afternoon, and the picnic closed with a campfire and flares.

The event was revived one last time at the Old Peterson Summer Resort on August 13, 1967 under the sponsorship of the Phelps County Historical Society and Dr. Theodore Peterson in celebration of Nebraska’s 100th birthday. A parade of the old settlers began the festivities and included a speech by then Governor Val Peterson and Ted Stutheit, Superintendent of Fort Kearny State Park. Arthur W. Swanson led the singing and Dr. Theo. Peterson slaughtered one of his buffalos to provide buffalo burgers for the picnickers. Fifty of the oldest citizens were honored for their contributions to the growth of Nebraska. Religious services were held in the evening by Carl Dahlstedt, Rev. Hoseth of Westmark, Rev. Gabrielson of Moses Hill, Rev. Hall of Bethel Lutheran of Holdrege and the Salvation Army from North Platte and Kearney, whom Dr. Peterson had long supported.

Hard to believe it’s now time to celebrate another milestone. Happy 150th Birthday Nebraska!
—end

Stereoscope April 2020KUVR Radioby Patti Simpson Radio Station KUVR got its start here in Holdrege on October 22, 1956, ...
11/23/2020

Stereoscope April 2020
KUVR Radio
by Patti Simpson

Radio Station KUVR got its start here in Holdrege on October 22, 1956, when it went “on the air” for its first day of operation. Bill and Betty Rae Whitlock (WW Broadcasting Company) had been working towards this day for over a year to prepare for the maiden broadcast date. According to the Phelps County History book published in 1981, a great deal of engineering research and fulling of requirements for the Federal Communication Commission (F.C.C.) had to happen before the F.C.C. would give permission to begin construction of a radio station, and then more work before permission to begin broadcasting.

There were several local people who became the first stockholders in WW Broadcasting in 1957. These included: Richard Person, James F. Swanson, Gaylord Illingworth, John Dier, Dale Illingworth and Alfred Illingworth.

The initial construction engineering was done by Otis Oleson and Harold Erickson. Mr. Erickson served as Chief Engineer of KUVR from 1956 until his retirement in 1996.

The KUVR building is well known in downtown Holdrege. It’s located on the north side of the street at 613 4th Avenue. The familiar KUVR neon sign still glows brightly above the front door. Before KUVR purchased the building in 1958, it was owned and occupied by the Northwestern Bell Telephone Company until they built their new facilities at 5th and Garfield Streets. Well into the 1980s there was a telephone booth that stood outside the building right next to the front steps.

Today (2020) the building is still home to the station. The main floor of the small building has a reception area, three offices, restrooms, and three sound proof broadcast rooms with large heavy glass windows for viewing. The smallest of these rooms is used to cut commercial advertising; Studio One, as it is called, is used for broadcasting and interviewing guests; and the studio in the middle is the main broadcast booth, housing the control board where the disc jockeys run the content. The building’s basement at one time held an office in the front next to the outside entrance. Now the basement is mainly used for storage.

The Whitlocks began the station with a crew of newsman, disc jockeys, salesman, a receptionist and engineer. In January 1979, I was hired by Dave Tucker as the KUVR receptionist. At that time, the KUVR staff averaged around 12 people.

Several radio personalities and sales personnel have called KUVR home over the years. My memories of Bill Whitlock include him smoking cigars. One day he came in puffing two in his mouth at once. Other KUVR employees over the years included General Manager and radio personality, Moe Milliken who was employed from 1966 to 1973; Station Manager Jack Stitzel who now resides in Colorado; the late Dave Tucker who was employed as the General Manager from 1980 until his retirement in 2003; Sports Director Garry Meyers; Program Director, Howard Henderson; sales rep and morning personality, Hal Boettcher; Sales Manager, Kris Shaver; Engineer Harold Erickson from 1956 until his retirement in 1996; bookkeeper, Lillian Pelowski; other office staff including: Pat Lynch, Pat Guzman, Jean Isler, Kathy Ostendorf; and several radio personalities including: Dixon Powers, Dale Johnson, John Titus, Ralph Wall and most recently, the late Randy Isler who was well known and loved for his signature sports broadcasting.

KUVR sold advertising for their many featured programs geared around the community’s needs. These included programs like: Betty Rae’s Women’s News where Betty Rae would discuss recipes and other issues important to women; the weekday morning program, Over the Back Fence, where individuals could advertise miscellaneous items for sale; a half-hour Sunday program hosted by John Titus known as The Swedish Hour, that featured hymns sung in Swedish; and the Saturday afternoon program Dial-A-Score where listeners could call in and find out the final score for a ballgame held that day. In the late 1970s and into the 1980s, KUVR even sponsored a Farm & Home Show at the Phelps County Ag Center. These were busy days at the radio station.

The type of music the station played has varied over the years from the oldies, to Top 40 and Rock to Country. Many nights DJs would take caller requests and play songs dedicated to someone special. In the early years, during the holidays, there was one very obnoxious record featuring dogs barking to the tune of Jingle Bells. One morning, a local sponsor came in to do her piece on the Over the Back Fence program. The DJ had just put on the barking dogs tune. Thoroughly annoyed with the song, the sponsor went into the control room, pulled the 45 record from the turntable and smashed it on the floor!
Several locally sponsored promotions were held including Wiener Wednesdays and many Christmas promos. Games were also played on the radio including BINGO and the popular Turkey Hunt, where the radio announcer would take the first, second or third caller. The caller would then guess how many “shots” it would take to get the turkey. The listeners would then hear a turkey gobble, followed by one, two or three gun shots. If the caller guessed the correct number of shots, they would win a turkey!

And who could forget the brown station wagon labeled as the KUVR Mobile Mic which was seen around the area whenever live broadcasts were being aired to promote a business or sporting event.

Many changes have taken place at KUVR over the years, but you can still tune in to 96.9 FM or 3680 AM to hear local news, sports, weather, and advertising. Recently Craig Larson, General Manager and CEO of the Nebraska Rural Radio Association (NRRA) announced they had purchased KUVR. Good things are still happening in the air waves, and I believe KUVR will continue to be an asset to the people of Holdrege and the surrounding areas for many years to come.

—end

Address

2701 Burlington St
Holdrege, NE
68949

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 13:00 - 16:00
Sunday 13:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(308) 995-5015

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Comments

Love collecting this POW History!
Does the museum have names of the German P.O.W.'s from WWII?
Nala our 3-year-old Female Husky has now been missing for one year from the Arnold, NE area since 2/9/18. She is Grey/Black, Blue Eyes and a White face. We believe someone passing through the Nebraska area may have picked her up and without tags or collar was unable to contact us. If you have seen her or know someone who might have her, PLEASE help us bring her home. We are offering a $2000 reward for her safe return. 402-214-4737
Long day, but it was a lot of fun.
Movie night at the Nebraska Prairie. 34 individuals had free popcorn, coffee, water and movie, starring John Wayne in his first mayor roll, the 1930 “The Big Trail”. Great time. Thank-you to everyone that came out.
Board members overseeing nonprofit organizations in Phelps and Gosper counties should check out the Nonprofit Board Boot Camp in Holdrege, November 8. This intense training/update will help novice and seasoned board members better serve their organizations. Pre-registration required. For more information contact NE Extension Educator, Carroll Welte at 402.374.2954.
Allow yourself ample time to take in this wonderful museum.