Homestead NM key to Nebraska tourism efforts
Make use of limited assets 'State has no Grand Canyon, sell our history' To attract tourists to Nebraska we must advertise what we have, and make what we have accessible. accessible. This was the advice that Dr. James Olsen, head of the University University of Nebraska history department, department, had for the Homestead Historical Historical Society, when it met last night at Homestead National Monument, Monument, one of the state's finest attractions. Sell Our Assets "We Nebraskans must be proud of our history and of our state," he said. "We must be informed and tell people in other states the values of Nebraska." The Homestead and the Nebraska Nebraska frontier are symbols of United States history—the symbols of a free and independent society, he said. The people in the United States should be interested in seeing seeing the beautiful sights in Nebraska, Nebraska, but our scenery is not as marketable marketable as that of- some of the other states, said Dr. Olson. "We have no Grand Canyon." The tourists tourists would be more interested in the history of the plains. Visitors might want to spend an hour or two at the Homestead, a few hours at Fort Robinson, and a couple of hours somewhere else. They may not want to stay here for two weeks, but at least we can get them to pay a shorter visit. visit. . Dr. Olson reviewed the distribution distribution of the public domain since the days of the Confederation. In 1862, three of the most important important land legislation acts were passed. passed. These were the Pacific Railroad Act, the Land Grant College Act, and the Homestead Act. These demonstrated demonstrated the interests at the time: transportation, education, and cheap land. Thirty four million acres in Nebraska Nebraska were deeded to the farmers farmers under one of the Homestead Acts. Many of the settlers were Union veterans who bought the land with military script. Other settlers in this region were emigrants from the Scandinavian countries, and from western Europe. Actually a Wager The Homestead Act was actually actually a wager between the farmer and the government. The government government bet 160 acres, against the farmers' $14, that the farmre could not live in Nebraska for five years. Only 52 per cent of the farmers farmers won the bet. Before Dr. Olson spoke, members members of the Homestead Historical Society discussed possible means of arousing more interest among Beatrice in Homestead National Monument. Among the suggestions: suggestions: Pioneer Days, when people would dress in old-fashined garb, patterned after the annual festival at Brownville; and a square dance festival at the Homestead.