Margaret and Edward Gehrke, Adventurers
Margaret "Maggie" May Patton was born in Chicago
in 1883 and at sometime early in her life she and her mother
moved to Nebraska. She met and married Edward Arthur Gehrke in
1905. Five years later she graduated from the University of Nebraska.
Edward was born in Seward County in 1880 and he became a successful
contractor and real estate agent, building an estimated 300 Craftsman-style
houses in Lincoln and becoming known as " The Bungalow Man."
Edward died in 1939 and Maggie in 1978.
Edward and Maggie were adventurers and together they traveled
extensively throughout the United States and Canada by motorcar
during a time when this kind of travel truly was an adventure.
Edward photographed their travels and Maggie kept engaging and
descriptive travel journals. Together their photo albums and
journals provide a fascinating glimpse into the challenges and
rewards of these adventures.
In the fall of 1916, Ed and Maggie took
what Maggie titled their "Thousand Mile Motor Trip thru
Oct. 15. Sunday: The Day of Days
again! This is to be our tenth trip -- a thousand
mile motor trip through Western Nebraska. The morning was
gray and misty. We were away at nine o'clock. Perhaps it is true
"that fools rush in where angels fear to tread" --
the Man and I did not think of it; however, when eleven miles
out of Lincoln, we put up the top, covered the bedding with water-proofing,
put a blanket around Pike, took off our gay pennants -- and by
the time we had reached Seward everything was damp but our spirits,
and the spink and span appearance of our outfit had utterly disappeared.
We arrived at York -- 60 miles from home -- about one o'clock.
Had dinner with Dewey and Alma, enjoyed Baby Frances, a two hour
rest and were on our way again. The next 40 miles of travel the
roads were skiddy and travel slow. We reached the Platte river
at sunset. It was going down, a big red ball, across the way
over the sand bars. But the day's difficulties were not over.
Oh, no! We were to experience a full measure of the motorist's
calamities! We ran the car in on what looked to be a hard stretch
of level sand near a pleasant meadow-and stuck! The rear wheels
ground in and sunk with every turn! We got out and deliberated
on the next move; but plainly the Buick would not move for sometime.
It was cold, night was coming, we were wet and tired from a hundred
miles of hard travel. We put up the tent near the car on wet
sand and the Lady hastened to make hot tea-blessed reviver of
spirits! With the beds made and supper, the situation looked
more cheerful-how we are tied by the physical. Next we went out
and looked at the car; water was starting to seep in around the
wheels and it was still going down a little from its own weight-in
all probability before morning a ChinaMan would reach up from
the other side and pull it thru! So unlike President Wilson we
decided to act at once. We first found some planks near the bridge
and dragged them up to the car, then the Man proceeded to "jack"
the rear wheels up, while the Lady carried the light around,
brought tools, and encouraged the Man with lies that the car
was nearly level when it wasn't! At eleven o'clock the brave
little Buick was planked out on the solid ground again, and we
went to bed. Thus ended the First Day of the Thousand Mile
Motor Trip at Camp No. 1 "Sinky Sand."
Oct. 23. The morning dawned a fine
"duck day"-cold and a light snow. The Man and the Dog
were away to the lakes early to spend the day, again. I sent
off a bunch of post-cards and had a long walk before dinner.
This afternoon I got my journal up-to-date. I have not minded
being alone. The Man will have such a glorious hunt, for shooting
is fine here in the sand hills. To bring in forty or fifty ducks
is not unusual. We are to have a fine duck dinner if Edward gets
home in time. This is our last day here. We plan to motor on
to-morrow -- to begin the homeward way. We have seen lots of
country and hope to see some more. We can't expect good roads
but we can expect some more "experiences." The afternoon
wanes: so ends the Ninth Day of the Thousand Mile Motor Trip.
Oct. 27. The last lap! We left Columbus
this morning with high hopes. We made the last seventy-five miles
of the trip without further mishap, other than a blow-out --
long expected -- and the discovery that Edward had left his coat
at Columbus. We had dinner at Seward and arrived Home
about four o'clock. Found all O.K. here. So end the Thirteenth
Day and the Thousand Mile Motor Trip. We traveled
about 800 -- eight hundred miles. We had seen a lot of country;
had enough new experience to suit anyone. But like little Pollyanna
we are Glad: the Buick is battle-scared; we are motor
A Thousand Mile Motor Trip thru
Western Nebraska. 1916.
(All the difficulties of a Transcontinental Tour.)
All ready to start on a rainy October morning.
Revenna, Nebr. Two broken springs.
A welcome sign board.
Brewster looks like civilization after being snowbound on the
Mud! Nebraska Mud!
Same difficulty but we miss the bridge.
Here I shed a few weak tears!
We return home: Seasoned motorists
and the Buick battle-scared.
The end of our First Major Trip.
Whooping crane radiator cap fashioned by Ed Gehrke for his and Maggie's Buick,
Diaries and Journals
J.A. Hill, Civil
W. Richards, Surveyor
J.S. Morton, Statesman
Sara J. Price, Teacher
W. Danley, Businessman
J. & E. Green, Farmers
S. Buck, Farm Wife
S. & E. Allis,
E. & L. Correll,
W.J. Bryan, Orator
Lucy Drexel, Student
Viola Barnes, Student
Willa Cather, Author
C. Calvert, Educator
Myrtle Soulier, Student
B. Watson, Porter
Frances M. Creech,
Sierra Nevada Bunnell,