Official Nebraska Government Website Nebraska State Historical Society

Nebraska National Register Sites
in Webster County

Rural Sites

 Hill Farm Site (Pike-Pawnee Village; NHL) [25-WT-01] Listed 1966/10/15

Occupied from 1770 to about 1810 or later, the Pike-Pawnee National Historic Landmark has been the subject of intense historical and archeological research. Former Nebraska State Historical Society Museum Director A. T. Hill documented the site as the Republican Pawnee community visited by the 1806 Zebulon Pike expedition. It encompasses nearly 300 acres of Republican River terrace, bluffs, and draws in the Guide Rock vicinity. In addition to the village area of 100 lodge sites, five cemeteries, two hoop game "courts," and a council site constitute the complex. Artifacts of both native and European origin are common.

 Starke Round Barn, pdf [WT00-001] Listed 1972/03/16

The Starke Round Barn was built in 1902-3 by the four Starke brothers, Conrad, Ernest, Bill, and Chris, who came to Nebraska from Milwaukee. The massive structure measures 130 feet in diameter and has three levels: the bottom for animals, the second for machinery, and the third (or loft) for hay. The construction method combines balloon framing and heavy timber supports. The Starke Round Barn, located near Red Cloud, is the state's largest and one of the largest in the nation.

  Garber Grove, thematic group pdf   [WT00-012] Listed 1982/08/11

Located east of Red Cloud, Garber Grove and the site of the Garber house were important both to Willa Cather personally and to her writings, particularly as the setting for A Lost Lady.

 George Cather Farmstead, thematic group pdf   [WT00-013] Listed 1982/08/11

This substantial farmstead developed over a period of years beginning ca. 1880 through the 1920s. The farmstead includes the main dwelling, outhouse, smokehouse, summer-kitchen, and windmill. The site was the home of Willa Cather's aunt and uncle, Francis and George Cather. The house was the setting for Cather's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, One of Ours.

 St. Stephenie Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church, thematic group pdf   [WT00-024] Listed 1982/08/11

This modest, frame, vernacular Gothic Revival building is located near Red Cloud. The church is significant to the major theme of Willa Cather's writings in a very general sense, that is, as one of the few remaining small, frame country churches in Webster County which were referred to time and again in her writings. Additionally, this church's association with Scandinavian immigrants corresponds well with Cather's overwhelming interest and love for the European settlers of the area.

 Pavelka Farmstead (Antonia Farmstead), pdf [WT00-104] Listed 1979/04/13

The Pavelka farmstead is located in the northern part of a small but substantial Bohemian settlement concentrated primarily in Batin and Glenwood townships. The farmstead is significant as the setting for Willa Cather's Book V, "Cuzak's Boys," of My Antonia, and the short story, "Neighbor Rosicky." Additionally, the site's significance to Czech-American cultural heritage is considerably enhanced through Cather's use of the site in these writings.

 Chalk Cliffs and Republican River, thematic group pdf   [WT00-175] Listed 1982/08/11

The chalk cliffs are exposed bluffs along the south edge of the Republican River just south of Red Cloud. The cliffs are a naturally occurring geologic feature, exposed by the action of the Republican River and considered a landmark in the community and also noted in Willa Cather's writings.

 Willa Cather Memorial Prairie, thematic group pdf   [WT00-176] Listed 1982/08/12

The Cather Prairie is a large tract of unbroken prairie nearly 600 acres in area. The prairie, which characterized this land when the Cathers first arrived in Nebraska, had a profound, lasting influence on the young Willa Cather. She refers to this land in both My Antonia and O Pioneers!

  Crossroads Grave Site, thematic group pdf   [WT00-177] Listed 1982/08/11

Located near Red Cloud, this site is known locally as the "suicide corner," the site of the original burial place of Francis Sadliek, one of the first Bohemian settlers in Webster County. The significance is indicated in a letter Willa Cather wrote to Carrie Miner Sherwood (January 27, 1934), where Cather indicated "that if she were to write anything at all, it would have had to be My Antonia because of the many times she had heard the story of the Sadilek suicide when she first came out to Nebraska." Because of this, the site has retained considerable importance locally.

 William Cather Homestead (site of), thematic group pdf   [WT00-178] Listed 1982/08/11

Located near Red Cloud, the site of the William Cather homestead dwellings and buildings are now extant only as sub-surface features. William Cather, grandfather of Willa Cather, received a patent for the site from the United States Government in 1883. The features of the site date from c. 1878-93. Willa Cather describes the homestead in her book, My Antonia.

 Red Cloud Bridge, pdf [WT00-187] Listed 1992/06/29

The Nebraska Department of Roads and Irrigation designed the Red Cloud Bridge in 1935 after spring floods weakened the old structure. Although the highway department generally constructed simple truss spans, it instead delineated a continuous truss for the Red Cloud Bridge. The channel spans consist of three continuous pony trusses, flanked by deck girder approaches. To provide sway bracing, overhead lateral struts connect the upper chords of both webs at the bridge piers. The four main piers are constructed of concrete with up- and downstream cutwaters. The piers rest on concrete-filled tubes driven to bedrock. The approach span abutments consist of steel piles encased in concrete, with flared, sloped wingwalls. Highway department engineers took great pains to ensure that the bridge was seated properly to avoid undue stresses at the bearing points, weighing each truss with hydraulic jacks before the concrete deck was poured. The Red Cloud Bridge, located near the town of Red Cloud, is technologically significant as a rare experimental design by the state highway department. Representing a highly unusual foray into continuous truss engineering, the Red Cloud Bridge is unique in Nebraska and is one of the state's most important vehicular spans.

Urban Sites

 I.O.O.F. Hall and Opera House, pdf [WT02-008] Listed 1988/07/06

Excavation for the combination opera house and lodge hall, located in Bladen, started in August 1912. The two-story brick building held its grand opening on March 25, 1913, featuring the Fisher Shipp Concert. The first floor opera house, used for a variety of entertainments and public gatherings, has an auditorium with a raked floor, stage, and projection booth.

 Main Street Historic District, thematic group pdf  [WT07] Listed 1982/02/11

The town's business center was described in many of Willa Cather's writings, both as it was when the Cather family first moved to Red Cloud and as it was dramatically transformed during Cather's childhood. Her novels, Lucy Gayheart and My Antonia, both contain scenes drawn from downtown Red Cloud. The short story, "Two Friends," also takes place in the business district.

Seward Street Historic District, thematic group pdf   [WT07] Listed 1982/02/11

Willa Cather uses this district as the prototype for "Sylvester Street" in her novel, The Song of the Lark. Additionally, Ninth Avenue, located at the northern edge of the district, was utilized as "Quality Street" in the novel, Lucy Gayheart.

  Elm Street Historic District, thematic group pdf   [WT07] Listed 1982/08/11

The architecture of the Elm Street District is certainly less elaborate than the Seward Street District. Willa Cather was keenly aware of this and describes the differences in her novel, Song of the Lark.

 Railroad Addition Historic District, thematic group pdf   [WT07] Listed 1982/08/11

While growing up, Willa Cather enjoyed her many trips down to the depot through this small settlement. These trips, and the area itself, became important especially in her novel, The Song of the Lark.

Jackson's Reserve, thematic group pdf   [WT07-009] Listed 1982/08/11

The parcel of ground known as Jackson's Reserve is a 300-foot-square plot of ground that historically boasted a substantial grove of cottonwood trees. William Jackson, who established the grove and for whom the reserve is named, occupied the site in his own dwelling. Both the historic dwelling and the cottonwood grove have long since disappeared, but the parcel is still unbroken. The site has become a local landmark made famous by Willa Cather's colorful description of the grove in Song of the Lark.

  Burlington Depot, thematic group pdf   [WT07-010] Listed 1981/03/05

Depots in general played a significant role in Willa Cather's writings. The original two-story section of the depot, constructed in 1897, is the building Cather was familiar with during her last years in Red Cloud. Red Cloud was on the main line of the Burlington and Missouri between Kansas City and Denver. At one time eight passenger trains passed through town daily, making the Red Cloud Depot a busy and exciting place.

 St. Juliana Falconieri Catholic Church, thematic group pdf   [WT07-011] Listed 1981/03/05

St. Juliana Falconieri Catholic Church is the church that Annie Pavelka, "Antonia," was married in and where her illegitimate child was baptized. Architecturally the church is a significant vernacular structure, a fine specimen of modest church architecture for the period and, aside from the depot, the most impressive architectural feature of South Red Cloud.

 Miner House, thematic group pdf   [WT07-016] Listed 1982/08/11

Built ca. 1878, the Miner house is one of the finest, large historic houses in Red Cloud. Although a more simplified, vernacular interpretation of the Italianate style, the house is the salient example of the style in Red Cloud. Willa Cather's first playmate in Red Cloud was Mary Miner. Cather became friends with all of the Miner children, but especially Carrie. She wrote to Carrie regularly throughout her life and her book My Antonia is dedicated "To Carrie and Irene Miner, In memory of affections old and true."

 Perkins-Wiener House, thematic group pdf   [WT07-018] Listed 1982/08/11

The house was built in 1882-83 utilizing an early Greek Revival form with some Gothic Revival details. Willa Cather's introduction to French literature came about as a result of her friendship with Mr. and Mrs Charles Wiener. In her short story, "Old Mrs. Harris," Cather describes the Wiener house as the home of the Rosens.

  Willa Cather House (pdf) (NHL) [WT07-026] Listed 1969/04/16

World famous author Willa Sibert Cather (1873-1947) moved with her family from Virginia to the Red Cloud area in 1883. Many of her best known writings deal with life in the Red Cloud vicinity. The Cather House, in which she lived from 1884 to 1890, figures prominently in The Song of the Lark, The Best Years, and Old Mrs. Harris. This house, located in Red Cloud, is the most important Nebraska building associated with her literary career.

 Miner Brothers' Store, thematic group pdf   [WT07-027] Listed 1982/08/11

James and Hugh Miner opened one of the first businesses in Red Cloud in 1878. In 1883 they moved into this building. At the time, it was the first brick structure on Red Cloud's main street.

 Opera House, thematic group pdf   [WT07-031] Listed 1982/08/11

The Opera House building was constructed in 1885 to house the hardware business of Morhart and Fulton on the ground floor and the opera house above. The stage of the opera house saw the performance of many traveling stock companies and it served as the center of social and cultural life in Red Cloud for more than thirty years. Willa Cather gave her high school commencement address from the stage of the opera house.

 Moon Block, thematic group pdf   [WT07-032] Listed 1982/08/11

The building was constructed in 1886 by Senator John Moon as commercial and office space. One of the second level offices was occupied by Willa Cather's first adult friend, Dr. G. E. McKeeby (Dr. Archie in Song of the Lark).

Matthew R. Bentley House, thematic group pdf   [WT07-043] Listed 1982/08/11

The Matthew R. Bentley House was built in 1883 by J. Brubaker. The house is a one-and-one-half story frame buiding constructed in the Gothic Revival style.

 Warner-Cather House, thematic group pdf   [WT07-054] Listed 1982/08/11

In 1904 the Cather family left their little rented house on the corner of Third and Cedar and moved into this more spacious house, which they had purchased. Although Willa Cather had left Red Cloud permanently in 1896, she continued to visit her family in this house during the summers and occasionally for Christmas. The house is the setting for the Ferguesson family home in one of her short stories, "The Best Years."

 The City Pharmacy, thematic group pdf   [WT07-070] Listed 1982/02/11

Constructed in 1885 The City Pharmacy is a small, two-story brick building situated on the east side of Red Cloud's main business street. Dr. Henry Cook, who occupied the building, was one of Willa Cather's medical friends. When she was in high school she worked for him, taking out her pay in books and games.

 Farmer's and Merchant's Bank Building, thematic group pdf   [WT07-072] Listed 19810305

Built in 1888-89 it is also known as the Garber Bank. The bank was organized by Silas Garber, who was its first president. Willa Cather was long a personal friend of the Garber's and eventually used them as prototypes for Captain and Mrs. Forrester in A Lost Lady. The bank is used in two of Cather's other writings, the short story, "Two Friends," and the novel, Lucy Gayheart.

First Baptist Church, thematic group pdf   [WT07-078] Listed 1982/08/12

The first Baptist Church was built with funds provided by the American Baptist Home Mission Society, as well as local funds. The church was dedicated in 1884. The Cather family were Baptists when they moved to Nebraska and remained with that denomination until 1922, when they joined the Episcopal Church. The Baptist church was completed about the time the Cathers moved into Red Cloud, and is the church building they attended while they were members.

 William Ducker House, thematic group pdf   [WT07-089] Listed 1982/02/11

William Ducker was born in England and went to Illinois to work for his older brothers. He was well educated and had a love for learning. He came to Red Cloud at the age of fifty, where he gave lessons in the classics to his children to supplement their regular schoolwork. Willa Cather spent time reading with him both while she lived in Red Cloud and after she had moved to Lincoln to attend the University.

 Dr. Gilbert E. McKeeby House, thematic group pdf   [WT07-091] Listed 1982/08/11

Dr. McKeeby was one of Willa Cather's first adult friends. He was a graduate of Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City. He moved to the drier climate of Nebraska because of poor health. He began practicing law in Red Cloud but switched back to medicine after a short while. Cather occasionally went on calls with him. McKeeby was the prototype for Dr. Archie in Song of the Lark. His house is also described in the same novel.

 Auld Public Library, pdf [WT07-096] Listed 1993/12/10

Constructed in 1917-18, the Auld Public Library is an excellent example of educational architecture in Red Cloud. Designed in the Neo-Classical style, the building is a fine representative of early twentieth-century library design as found in communities throughout Nebraska during this period. This facility was the result of William T. Auld's generous donation to erect the first permanent library for the community.

 Grace Protestant Episcopal Church, thematic group pdf   [WT07-100] Listed 1982/02/11

Willa Cather was brought up in the Baptist Church, but became a member of Grace Church in 1922. The altar rail was dedicated in memory of Willa's brother, Douglas, and Willa, herself, dedicated two of the stained glass windows - one to her mother and one to her father.

 Webster County Courthouse, pdf [WT07-104] Listed 1981/03/05

The Webster County Courthouse was built in 1914. The building, a vitrified brick edifice of three stories, is designed in the Second Renaissance Revival style. Trimmed in stone, with a stone foundation, the symmetrical rectangular building features central projecting pavilions at each of its two side ends and a front, south facade that projects slightly across its entire width from the main block of the building. A high parapet above the wall cornice slopes upward slightly toward the center of each facade. Willa Cather used the courthouse as the setting for the immigrant trials in her novel, One of Ours.

  Red Cloud United States Post Office, pdf [WT07-195] Listed 1992/05/11

The Red Cloud United States Post Office is a one-story, buff-colored brick building constructed in 1939 in the Modernistic style. While the building retains a high degree of integrity, its historical significance derives from the mural painted on an interior wall.

Through New Deal programs such as the Public Works of Art Project and the WPA Federal Art Project, thousands of artists were employed. In 1934 the Section of Painting and Sculpture (renamed the Section of Fine Arts in 1938) was organized under the auspices of the Treasury Department to provide murals and sculpture for the many federal buildings constructed during the New Deal era.

Between 1938 and 1942 the Treasury Department's Section of Fine Arts (generally known as "the Section") commissioned twelve murals for twelve newly constructed post offices in Nebraska. Red Cloud, along with the other eleven post office murals in Nebraska represent the Section's goal of making art accessible to the general population by reserving one percent of new building construction budgets for art.

How to list a property on the National Register

Return to Nebraska National Register Sites Index Page

Return to National Register information


NSHS Home  |  Search  |  Index  |  Top
Last updated 14 June 2005

For questions or comments on the website itself, email
Nebraska State Historical Society - P.O. Box 82554, 1500 R Street, Lincoln, NE 68501
Nebraska State Government Homepage
 |  Website Policies  |  © 2009 All Rights Reserved