June 5, 2010 Day 45 Homesteading and Capitols

We were woken up at 2:30 am with a severe thunderstorm warning from our weather radio. They said there could be winds in excess of 60 mph and large hail until 2:45 pm. I certainly hoped not after our ordeal in AZ with those winds. I don’t want to be in an RV with high winds like that again.

The thunderstorm warning was extended to 11 am but we get going at 10:15 am to south of Lincoln. We are going to Homestead National Monument. We stopped at the Heritage center first. PTCC got her Jr Ranger book and started working on it and I watched the movie. They had 2 floors of displays of the story of people moving onto the plains areas and working the land and raising their families. The center was about homesteading in general as well. There was a man who homesteaded in Alaska in the 1970’s that they have on film. 2 years after he staked his claim the statues ran out and there was no more homesteading. After we checked out the displays PTCC was finished with her book and received her badge and we walked outside to the Freeman cabin and grave sites. The cabin was moved here from ΒΌ mile away and set up like it was back when it was being lived in by 15 family members for over 12 years. When you looked back at the visitors center, if you were outside, they designed it to look like a plow that tills the earth like the homesteaders used.

After we ate our lunch on the back porch we went down the road to the education center which had displays of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific RR meeting in Promontory. It also had spring wagons and carts the settlers used to get here. Lots of farm implements were here as well. Then we moved on to the third site which was the Freeman School. This schoolhouse was used from 1872 until 1967. They have rolls of all the children that attended. Some years there were only 10 kids and some up to 42 children enrolled. It is a one room school house with 2 outhouses in the yard. The last class in 1967 consisted of 5 kids of various ages.

After leaving we stopped at the Walmart in Beatrice (said like BEE-AT-Trice) to get PTCC some shorts as she had only packed 1 pair (after being told by LCC to pack for all kinds of weather).It has finally gotten hot here and I think she will need them more now. She bought 2 more pair and we traveled on to Lincoln to see the NE State Capitol building.

We arrive in Lincoln and find parking right on the street in front of the capitol. It helps to come on a Saturday as well as when they are not in session. There was a tour going on when we got there so we joined up with them to find out more about the building. NE is a unichamberial state, which means they do not have a senate and a house just one chamber because they only have one party. They used to have 2 but dissolved the other in the early 1930’s. They are the only state like this now. The more I learned about it the more I thought we should go back to this system. The members can only serve 2 terms of a total of 8 years (If they are re-elected after 4 years), there are no republicans, democrats, independents, etc. On odd years they serve from Jan-June for 5 months, and in even years Jan-Apr for a 90 day term. They are only paid $12,000 a year because it is supposed to be a part time job. They must have other jobs to support themselves the rest of the year.

This is our 5th capitol city and the third one we have toured. SO far FL is losing in the beautiful capitol buildings category. So far we have the ugliest one built in the 1970’s and it looks it. Just like a federal penitentiary.

We are getting tired and it is nearly 4:30 now so we head home to have some dinner and to see if the mi-fi works yet. Either we have used it up again or it is broken. If it is we will trek up to the lodge and used their wi-fi there.

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