Sunday, August 05, 2007

Manifest Destiny Manifests Frank's Bohemian Smokehouse

Okay, let's get the results of last night's meeting out of the way: good people, had fun, I like them.

Now, today, instead of playing basketball, I convinced Monkey that we should have an adventure. So, we loaded some food and beverages into the Penguin, cracked open the Nebraska atlas, and headed to Homestead National Monument, just west of Beatrice (that's pronounced with the emphasis on the "[ae]"). It was pretty amazing. The site of the park is right on the homestead claim of Daniel Freeman, the commonly accepted "first homesteader." The park's HQ does a great job of explaining the Homestead Act, the trials and tribulations of the homesteaders, and the effects of the Homestead Act and the Dawes Act on the Indian population. Interesting to me: the last homestead claim was made in 1976 (an 80 acre plat in Alaska).

We visited a homestead that was originally built on a claim 14 miles from the park and moved for display purposes. A log cabin with a dirt floor, about 20 by 20, containing a table and two chairs, a bed, a small stove, and a pie safe. It would have been tough living in their all winter, I'll tell you, but for the time and place, it was probably above standard.

After leaving the Homestead Monument, we traveled north and then west to experience the legacy of the homesteaders in the small town of Wilber (pop. 1200). Wilber is the Czech Capital of Nebraska (and the nation), and this weekend was the annual Wilber Czech Festival. Honestly, the Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival might be larger and offer more in the way of canned/preserved food (i.e., apple butter and jellies), pies, and painted gourds, but Wilber's got the rye bread, kolache, and sausage market cornered. All in all an interesting experience. Especially if you like polka music (which I do).

So, a true Nebraska adventure for today. Again, the batteries in the camera are dead, so no pictures. But, compared to the hardships that the settlers of the vast lands of America had to endure, a dearth of photographic (or digital) images is something we can all bear.

3 comments:

comoprozac said...

R is up for the Czech festival next year. Bestill her Eastern Euro heart!

Anonymous said...

I don't think I was aware of your affinity for polka music! Nor was I aware of Wilber as the Czech capital of the nation. This post was chock full o interesting tidbits!

Anon AMVB

Jami said...

How are the initiation rituals. Post something already! I am in NYC visiting Heather - she is currently living on west 76th and Central Park. It is a wonderful life being able to wake up and walk across the street and be in the park. She is one block away from the Dakota (John Lenon). Anxious to hear how things are going. The one week count down is upon.

Hello to Mary Meghan - Jami