Vacationing on a Budget in 1909

This photograph of boating in Long Pine Lake was depicted on a postcard from 1927. From private collection.

This photograph of boating in Long Pine Lake was depicted on a postcard from 1927. From private collection.

“Where to spend my vacation is a problem which hundreds of Omaha minds are puzzling over just now,” said the Omaha Daily News on July 18, 1909, in a discussion of budget vacations within the state. The News told its readers that a fine vacation trip could be had in Nebraska at little cost: “Go to any railroad ticket office and they will give you a list of vacation trips that can be made at an expenditure of $10 to $50.”  

The News suggested Lake Quinnebaugh, near Tekamah, to fishermen looking for a bargain: “The railroad fare for the round trip is only $1.68 and you can get at some farm house a week of the very best board—chicken and fish, and butter and eggs and milk—for $6. That leaves $2.32 to spend for snakebite medicine, tobacco, reading matter and other incidentals.”  

Long Pine in Brown County was also said to be a low-cost vacation destination within the state. People had long noticed the special features of Pine Creek canyon. The town’s early entrepreneurs had big ideas about capitalizing on the potentially medicinal properties of the waters of the creek, a tributary of the Niobrara River.  

Along the creek at Long Pine. From private collection.

Along the creek at Long Pine. From private collection.

In 1910, the year after the Daily News article on budget vacation destinations was published, three entrepreneurs formed the Long Pine Amusement Park, a health and vacation resort that would become one of the most developed and longest lasting of all amusement parks in Nebraska. The resort drew travelers, first by rail and later by automobile, to stay in cabins beside Long Pine Creek and enjoy outdoor recreation and live entertainment. The area remains a busy summer vacation spot today.  

From Ainsworth Star-Journal, April 26, 1945.

From Ainsworth Star-Journal, April 26, 1945.

Read more about Long Pine in Rebecca A. Buller’s “Intersections of Place, Time, and Entertainment in Nebraska’s Hidden Paradise,” in the Summer 2011 issue of Nebraska History. — Patricia C. Gaster, Assistant Editor for Research and Publications

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