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Offseason Series: Nebraska Historical Markers - An Introduction

Because there are some stories to be told.....

We already did this one last year.

Last year Corn Nation did an off-season series where we wrote about each Nebraska County. There are 93 counties and Nebraska and it took quite an effort by the staff to get through all of them, writing every single day. The series proved much more popular than we could’ve imagined and the staff enjoyed doing it. The downside was that everyone was exhausted by the end and swore that we would never do something like that again.It is clear that our audience would enjoy similarly related content about Nebraska this season. I came up with the idea that perhaps once per week I could write about Nebraska history. To be honest, I wanted to find something that could be relatively simple and not too in-depth as I am not a historian nor do I have the advantage of being a full-time writer.

Did you know there are around 500 Historical Markers in Nebraska?

That seems like a lot of historical context waiting to be teased. Therefore I will try, once a week, to pick an interesting Nebraska historical marker and write about it. Note that when I say “interesting”, I mean interesting to me.I am purposely going to avoid any historical markers that have to do with the Indian wars. There are quite a number the deal with massacres or skirmishes or death on the plains caused by violence between Native Americans and the settlers trying to move into the state. I am avoiding these so that I can leave them for a future off-season. I feel that they require more attention than I could give them. A community member suggested that we do an off-season reviewing the Indian tribes of Nebraska. That sounds interesting, but I feel like it takes a lot more research to do it justice than I am willing to do right now.

About Historical Markers

There are historical markers in every state in our beloved nation. They began appeared in the 1920s. They were a way to set a roadside marker to commemorate an event. How better to get people to recognize their own history than to make a roadside place for people to pull over and rest for a bit let the same time learning more about their own history.

I mentioned the Indian wars. Imagine the contentiousness that other states have gone through because of their history. Think about Georgia. I’m sure that there are people who see Sherman’s “March To The Sea” much differently depending upon whether they are Northerners or natives of Georgia and the surrounding southern states who were affected by Sherman’s warfare. Think of other states who have had to deal with their own past of slavery.

The most-recalled cliché about history is “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” I believe we repeat it whether we remember are not – as Ecclesiastics 1:9 states “There is nothing new under the sun”. Humans have always had the same basic needs – to belong, to be loved, to have a purpose, and for some and need to explore – the people who came before us were no different than us. They may have lived under different circumstances in the world at their time but they fought the same battles, experience the same fears, and probably had the same dreams.

A comparison between then and now: Consider the “Dime Western”. These were novels that were sold for a dime, published from around 1860-early 1900s. They were stories of the Old West and people ate them like candy. Search “Diamond Dick” for an example.

In real life, Pat Garrett became famous for killing Billy The Kid. Garrett published a book about it that later was found to contain embellishments. Embellishments? Really? A person fancifying their life for the purpose of fame and fortune? Scandalous.

A question for discussion among CN community members:

How are the dime novels and Pat Garrett any different than Instagram other than Instagram being on a grander scale because of the internet?(Note that there is a historical market at the site of Pat Garrett’s murder.)

And so we begin an off-season series about Nebraska.