We slipped across the Kansas-Nebraska State line as we continued our wandering journey to our son’s family home in the Omaha area. We still had a little exploring to do and another overnight stay planned as well before arriving at our destination…
Our first stop was in Wymore Nebraska. This is the “Lake Bridenthal House” which is located at 113 South 9th Street. This home which was built in 1900 is a good local example of the Victorian - Queen Anne style. Lake Bridenthal started out as a teacher, then became a bookkeeper and then he was the “cashier” for the First National Bank of Wymore for many years. (The position of cashier was the equivalent of a bank officer back in the late 1800s and early 1900s) Mr. Bridenthal was also the owner of a coal and lumber concern, Lake Bridenthal and Company.
A town of roughly 1,400 residents today, Wymore was platted in 1881 as a railroad town, on land donated by Sam Wymore. The "Welsh Capitol of the Great Plains," Wymore became home to generations of immigrants from Wales, who continued their culture in day-to-day life, founding a Welsh-language church, school and cemetery, as well as preserving the Welsh traditions of poetry, dance and intricate music. In 2000, the Wymore Welsh Heritage Project was founded to preserve the legacy of these early settlers. It has since expanded to include a museum, an archive of genealogical records, and one of the largest Welsh-language libraries in North America. To learn more, go to http://welshheritageproject.org/.
· In the 2008 United States Census community survey, an estimated 1.98 million Americans had Welsh ancestry.
· Nine U.S. Presidents had or have some Welsh ancestry. Many performers, such as Bob Hope, Bette Davis and Taylor Swift also have some Welsh roots. A list of famous Americans with Welsh ancestry is found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Welsh_Americans.
Our next brief stop was in Beatrice Nebraska. This is the former Burlington Northern Railroad Depot at 101 North 2nd Street in Beatrice. This relatively modern looking depot was actually built in 1906 for the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad in the Neo-Classical Revival style. The building was constructed of Omaha pressed brick with Bedford stone trim at a cost of $35,000. ($1,900,000 in 2013 dollars)
On October 1, 1908, presidential candidate William Howard Taft stopped at this station to speak from his train. A crowd estimated to number 12,000 had gathered to hear him speak.
The former depot was presented to the Gage County Historical Society by the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1973. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Museum's displays include the history of people, railroads, industry, medical and Agriculture in Gage County.
Beatrice, with a population of about 12,000 is the county seat for Gage County. The town was founded in 1857. We didn’t really have time to explore Beatrice as I had another nearby historic objective in mind which would take some time to visit. There are no less than 10 places and 2 districts in Beatrice which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Maybe the next time…
· In early May, about 3 weeks before we came through Beatrice, the Big Blue River flooded much of the town and it caused considerable damage at this museum. It is closed until further notice and a fund raiser is underway. If you visit the museum’s website you will be able to see a drone’s eye view of the flooding at a point where the water had receded somewhat. http://www.gagecountymuseum.info/index.html.
Did you know that there are over 200 of these Statue of Liberty replicas in 39 states across the United States and in several of its possessions and territories? I sure didn’t!
This project was the brainchild of Kansas City businessman, J.P. Whitaker, who was then Scout Commissioner of the Kansas City Area Council. The copper statues were manufactured by Friedley-Voshardt Co. (Chicago, IL) and purchased through the Kansas City Boy Scout office by those wanting one. All of were erected in the early 1950's by Boy Scout troops and others to celebrate Scouting’s 40th anniversary theme, "Strengthen the Arm of Liberty."
The statues are approximately 8 1/2 feet tall without the base and they’re constructed of sheet copper. They weigh 290 pounds and they originally cost $350.00 plus shipping.
· Right in front of the Beatrice ‘Liberty’ statue, there is a buried time capsule that is to be opened on July 4, 2057, 200 years to the date that the city’s founders celebrated on the same site.
That’s about it for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave