Where Is Hidden Paradise?

HH - Bathing Beauties 1930

"Bathing Beauties" in 1930. Heritage House collections, Long Pine, Nebraska

What did rural Nebraska travel and recreation look like in the early-to-mid twentieth century? A forested canyon at Long Pine became popular at a time when ordinary Americans saw expanding opportunities for leisure and travel. Rebecca Buller writes about it in “Intersections of Place, Time, and Entertainment in Nebraska’s Hidden Paradise” in the Summer 2011 issue of Nebraska History.

The pine-forested canyon is carved into the seemingly endless rangeland of north central Nebraska. Along the canyon floor, the spring-fed Long Pine Creek flows with 55°F water year-round. In the early twentieth century, entrepreneurs decided that it was the perfect place for a tourist destination. In 1910 they established Long Pine Amusement Park, later known as Hidden Paradise.

M782 1903 C84 SFN106591

A dot added to this 1903 railroad map shows Long Pine's location. See detail below. NSHS M782 1903 C84

M782 1903 C84 SFN106591_crop

Detail of above map, showing Long Pine between Ainsworth and Bassett. Long Pine's location along the Chicago and North Western Railroad was an important factor in the park's early success.

Hidden Paradise Plunge Water Slide_2

Inside the Plunge Bath, circa 1910. Heritage House collections, Long Pine, Nebraska.

Childrens paradise

Many picture postcards were issued from Long Pine in the early twentieth century. This one is postmarked July 19, 1913. From a private collection.

RG3183-3-15 SFN96840_2

The Cotterill Sisters Orchestra, made up of three sisters from Bassett, was practically a fixture at Hidden Paradise in the early 1910s. NSHS RG3183-3-15

—David Bristow, Associate Director for Research and Publications

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6 Responses to Where Is Hidden Paradise?

  1. Sally Miller says:

    The picture of the Cotterill Sisters, Would any one know what may od became of them. I am mostly intrested in Florence.

    Thank you

    • dbristow says:

      Here’s information about the Cotterill Sisters from Rebecca Buller, author of the Hidden Paradise article. Dr. Buller writes:

      I have gone through my completed research and here are the only tidbits that I can find. (Almost all the information was found in the Long Pine Journal newspaper. All of this is in regards to the orchestra’s activities at the Long Pine Amusement Park.)

      On opening day, the Cotterill Sisters Orchestra from Bassett played the music for the Saturday night dance that lasted until midnight at the Pavilion.

      The Cotterill Sisters Orchestra would play for the last dance on August 27th.

      The Amusement Park’s 1911 season officially opened on Saturday June 3rd and Sunday June 4th. No matter what they were doing throughout the day, people could enjoy the music of the Ainsworth Band or the Cotterill Sisters Orchestra.

      In addition to weekend festivities, the Park would also be open on Wednesday nights for dances at the Pavilion with music again by the well-liked Cotterill Sisters Orchestra.

      Played at the 4th of July celebration

      The ever-popular Cotterill Sisters Orchestra from O’Neill provided music for a dance, attended by nearly fifty couples, which served as the official opening event. The orchestra was so well-liked that the Park management hired the ensemble for the entire season (Figure 16).

      It was likely that the sisters’ mother, Sarah, planned on staying with her daughters throughout the season since it was noted in the “Local News” section of the May 30, 1913 Long Pine Journal that a Mrs. Cotterrill had arrived and planned on spending the summer in town.

      Provided musical entertainment for the season opening on Wednesday June 3rd and the 4th of July celebration.

      As of July 31st, every cabin in the Park was occupied; some cottages even accommodated two families. The Cotterill Sisters Orchestra was in the Long Pine area so much that they lost things there. In late July, they put an ad in The Long Pine Journal saying that they had lost a “gold chain with opal and pearl pendant, in [a] green box, [that was] valued as [a] family keepsake.” The Sisters offered a reward as an extra incentive for anyone finding the necklace to return it to its rightful owners.

      Also, according to the USGenWeb Project (http://files.usgwarchives.net/ne/rock/school/rockhigh-1.txt), I see that Florence Cotterill was a 1910 graduate of Rock County High School (in Bassett), but the lady inquiring probably already knew that.

  2. Andrew Itzov says:

    Thanks for your photo of the Cotterill sisters. I am writing memories of my youth. The sisters and their mother lived two doors east of our house on 615 east F street, Iron Mountain Michigan. I was a child. There are newspaper items on Google of their entertaining in St. Petersburg. My parents told of them playing at Asbury Park NJ in the summers I believe, and Bermuda in the winter. One of the girls presented us with a painting of iris.

    Andrew Itzov
    West Bend WI

  3. Andrea says:

    I was recently given a housewarming gift – sheet music autographed by the Cotterill sisters. I decided to see what I could find out about them. This is interesting information. Thank you for your posts.

  4. Andrea says:

    Additionally, the sheet music indicates that at some point after 1917 and 1919 the sisters played in Chicago.

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