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Nebraska National Register Sites
in Thurston County

Rural Sites

 Blackbird Hill [25-TS-08] Listed 1979/05/02

This prominent topographic feature, located near Macy, overlooks the Missouri flood plain. Traditional Omaha tribal accounts indicate several prominent chiefs, including Blackbird and Big Elk, are buried here. The promontory served as an important natural landmark and meeting place for early European and American travelers including Lewis and Clark (1804-6), naturalist John Bradbury (1809), and George Catlin (1833). In a downslope gorge, natural sandstone bedrock exposures display a fascinating collection of Native American rock carvings, or petroglyphs, which depict human and animal figures as well as supernatural beings. Tribal or chronological affiliation of the carvings is unknown; however, one resembling a human on horseback suggests that it was created after A.D. 1700.

 North Omaha Creek Bridge, pdf [TS00-081] Listed 1992/06/29

No specific reference to the North Omaha Creek Bridge was found in county records, but based on its truss leg bedstead configuration, it was probably built about 1905. Although numerous truss leg bedstead bridges were erected throughout the state, most featured industry-standard floor systems with longitudinal stringers. This bridge has transverse I-beam stringers that rest on a continuous angle section and are bolted and riveted to the webs of deeper longitudinal I-beam stringers. Its transverse joist floor system distinguishes it as a peculiar - and somewhat structurally redundant - hybrid of truss and beam construction. The bridge, located near Winnebago, is thus technologically significant as an uncommon exercise in bridge engineering in Nebraska.

Urban Sites

 First Thurston County Courthouse, pdf [TS03-020, 059] Listed 1990/01/10

Thurston County was organized in 1889 and named Pender as the county seat. The First Thurston County Courthouse, consists of two adjacent buildings. Neither were designed for use as a courthouse, but rather were just used as temporary facilities. The older portion is a modest two-story, wood frame commercial building. According to county records it appears this was an existing building in 1889. The adjacent structure was originally built as a three-story, brick-faced hotel in 1892. The county leased this property in 1908 and continued to use both buildings as a temporary courthouse until 1927.

 Thurston County Courthouse, pdf [TS03-022] Listed 1990/01/10

Walthill residents took issue with the use of temporary facilities to house the county government in Pender. To still talk of moving the county seat to Walthill, Pender finally took action to establish a permanent courthouse. Following a school district reorganization in 1924, an 1895 schoolhouse was closed. In 1927 Pender residents raised funds to buy the former school and also helped the county alter it to meet the specialized needs of county government, providing the present Thurston County Courthouse.

Susan LaFlesche Picotte House, pdf [TS06-052] Listed 2009/11/10

Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte was the youngest daughter of Omaha Chief "Iron Eye" (Joseph LaFlesche). Picotte lived in this two story home from its construction in late 1907 until her death in 1916. In addition to her work as a physician, she was a political advocate for Omaha rights during this period. Picotte was heavily involved in debates surrounding the end of the federal trust period for Omaha allotments in 1909, the proposed consolidation of the Omaha and Winnebago Reservations and the inheritance rights of women and children. She also provided assistance to Omaha individuals by preparing various documents and correspondence, advising on domestic issues, placing phone calls and serving as an interpreter. Her home served as a gathering place for political meetings and cultural events that were attended by both Native Americans and Euro-Americans from the surrounding area.

Picotte's national significance in medicine, woman's history and social history is recognized by the Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte Memorial Hospital NHL, also in Walthill (see separate entry).

 Dr. Susan Picotte Memorial Hospital, pdf (NHL) [TS06-164] Listed 1988/12/16

The Dr. Susan Picotte Memorial Hospital is located in Walthill. The one-and-one half story, frame building was constructed in 1912-13 to serve as a facility for the practice of Dr. Picotte. Susan Picotte was the first Native American woman doctor to practice modern medicine in the United States. In addition to a distinguished medical career, she was an active supporter of the temperance movement, and represented the Omaha tribe at the local and national level, working to improve their quality of life. She was also involved in community affairs on a continual basis. As the only modern medical facility established in the area, primarily for the Omaha Indians, the hospital stands today as a reminder of Picotte's important role in the lives of Native Americans in Nebraska and the nation.

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Last updated 19 August 2011

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