Welcome to Railroad Town, Nebr.!
Stuhr Museums 19th Century Living History Community will open on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. The town will be staffed with living historians who will be in the homes and businesses of town, going about their business but never too busy to stop and talk about the town and their time. There is much to explore in Railroad Town, but for those wanting to plan your day at Stuhr Museum a little more, every day will include hands-on activities for everyone to take part in that help you experience aspects of plains life in the 19th Century.
And the year is… 1898.
The events of 1898 will prove to be exciting for the citizens of Central Nebraska and much of that excitement will carry over into Railroad Town. On February 15, 1898, the battleship Maine exploded in Havana harbor, killing 258 men and two officers. This event, whipped to a froth by the newspapers of the times would shortly trigger US action in Cuba, including a blockade of Cuban ports and the declaration of war on Spain – All of this before May 1st – which coincidentally is the anniversary of the Battle of Manila Bay! Before long, the cry of “Remember the Maine” his heard everywhere and the exploits of such people as Commodore Dewey and Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders are leading topics of conversation. 1898 is recognized as a year that changed the course of U.S. history as the nation shifted away from its long isolationist policy towards active foreign involvement. 1898 was a time of technological advancement that both instilled excitement and fear in the population of the nation. And if that isn’t enough, Walter Wellman is writing about his search for the North Pole and arctic exploration.
So what does this mean for Nebraska, and in particular for Railroad Town? We are in line with the rest of the nation – our patriotic hackles are raised, and everyone is talking about the war with Spain. Spanish influence in the world and daily war reports are a topic of conversation in all the newspapers in 1898. Young men from all over Nebraska, including Railroad Town are joining militia groups and heading off to mosquito-filled training camps and then to fight in the Philippines, Puerto Rico or Cuba. Ladies are not left out, and many are expressing an interest in Red Cross work to assist those who are wounded in battle. Talk of yet another war sparks the memories of the Civil War veterans of Railroad Town, and many a rocking chair general is born.
Meanwhile, live goes on as usual in Railroad Town. You can hear the hammer striking the anvil most days as Mr. Dack continues to make repairs or fill orders. The other trades are bustling as orders are placed and filled. Everyone has an eye on the Platte Valley Independent as they anxiously await the latest war news, or the latest information about the next sale at the Mercantile. In the houses, the ladies have many new handcrafts gleaned from the latest magazines they are anxious to try, and everyone is talking about the new neighbor moving to Railroad Town in June or the upcoming festivities for July 4th while making firm plans for what they plan to exhibit in this years Agricultural Fair in September!
Below is a map of Railroad Town, Nebr. that you can download and print.