For history buffs of all kinds, the state of Nebraska is a veritable treasure trove of landmarks, museums, and monuments. Want to know where to find the most one-of-a-kind attractions in the state? Here are some of our favorites…
Nebraska State Capitol
Often called “the Tower on the Plains” with a mixture of both affection and awe, the Nebraska State Capitol building in Lincoln. Designed in 1920 by famed architect Bertram Goodhume and constructed from Indiana limestone, this remarkable structure is one of the tallest buildings in the state, as visible to travelers from 20 miles away as it is to those living in the downtown Lincoln apartments.
During World War II, Admirable-class minesweeper ships helped to protect US sailors from naval mines deployed by foreign enemies. Today, only one Admirable-class minesweeper remains the USS Hazard. After being decommissioned in 1946, the USS Hazard was transported to Freedom Park in Omaha, still wearing its wartime camo paint-job.
Willa Cather House
As the author of such classic books as O, Pioneers!, The Song of the Lark, My Antonia, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning One of Ours, novelist Willa Cather is one of Nebraska’s most cherished icons. No surprise, then, that those with a love for all things literary can still visit her childhood home in the city of Red Cloud, where it has been meticulously restored and preserved.
Homestead National Monument
Following the Homestead Act of 1862, countless intrepid pioneers set out west in search of land to call their home. Just five miles from the city of Beatrice, the Homestead National Monument occupies the very location of one of the first documented homesteads, with the on-site Museum of American Homesteading offering an array of exhibits commemorating the pioneer spirit.
One of the most visually striking natural landscape features in the state, the unusually slender, 300-foot-tall Chimney Rock geological formation in Bayard once acted as a beacon for settlers traveling the Oregon Trail. Though time, erosion, and more than a few lightning strikes have taken a toll, the imposing stone pillar continues to evoke awe in visitors to this day.
J. Sterling Morton House
Nebraska is home to many beautiful, old mansions, but few are as historic as the J. Sterling Morton House in Nebraska City. Constructed in 1855, this sprawling 52-room estate is named for its original owner, J. Sterling Morton, the creator of Arbor Day. Morton’s love for nature led to him importing and planting 270 different varieties of trees on the surrounding land, many of which still stand today.