Author Archives: pgaster

The First Nebraska Regiment’s Baptism of Fire, 1862

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Donelson, fought in the tangled, snow-covered woods of northwestern Tennessee in mid-February 1862. There on February 13 Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s Union army laid siege to Confederate fortifications surrounding … Continue reading

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Seeing Lincoln: Nebraska Civil War Veterans Remember

Abraham Lincoln’s birthday in 1925 was celebrated by the History Club of Kearney State Teachers College with a dinner attended by members of the club and by several honored guests who had seen Lincoln during their Civil War military service. … Continue reading

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Groundhog Day in Nebraska

“No doubt many of our readers in this locality are close observers of ‘signs,’” said the Nebraska Advertiser on February 11, 1875, “and especially of ground-hog day, as it comes after a long and tedious winter, when the bright days … Continue reading

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Skating Under Cover: Kearney’s Indoor Ice Rink

Ice skating enthusiasts in Nebraska braved winter weather and rough ice before the advent of the indoor rink made “skating under cover” a more comfortable experience. The Kearney Daily Hub on November 24, 1891, announced the opening of such a … Continue reading

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Brown Bag Lecture to Discuss the Building of First Transcontinental Telegraph

Charles Brown was a young lawyer when he became the right-hand man to telegraph pioneer Edward Creighton of Omaha. Brown’s journal survives as the only known daily chronicle of the building of the transcontinental telegraph. Published in August 2011 by … Continue reading

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Gold Cure for the Liquor Habit

Nebraska was home during the late nineteenth century to a number of local Keeley hospitals or treatment centers for patients addicted to alcohol, nicotine, and narcotic drugs. Dr. Leslie E. Keeley opened the first Keeley Institute in Dwight, Illinois, in … Continue reading

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An Ice Union of Two Cities

January 12, 1888, marked not only the famous blizzard but a happier event–what the Omaha Daily Bee on January 13 called “An Ice Union of Two Cities.” Despite the inclement weather, a sleighing carnival in Council Bluffs attracted many Omahans … Continue reading

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A New Year’s Eclipse

The most memorable feature of New Year’s Day in Nebraska in 1889 was a solar eclipse that occurred between three and four o’clock in the afternoon. The Omaha Daily Bee on December 23, 1888, had announced: “The new year will … Continue reading

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A Midsummer Christmas Eve

Freakish weather is not unique to the twenty-first century. The Christmas of 1889 in Omaha was memorable chiefly for the record high temperatures recorded there. The Omaha Daily Bee on December 25, under the headline “Mid-Summer Christmas Eve,” reflected the … Continue reading

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Murder at the Lincoln Hotel: The Irvine-Montgomery Case

The trial of William H. Irvine for the murder of Charles E. Montgomery in October of 1892 in Lancaster County District Court captured statewide (and national) attention. The crime for which Irvine, a Salt Lake City real estate man, was … Continue reading

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