Since moving to Nebraska I have discovered many new and interesting facts. For example, Nebraska was the first state admitted to the United States after the Civil War. Nebraska is also home to both the National Museum of Roller Skating and the International Quilt Center and Museum. It’s also the site of the first American commemoration of Arbor Day. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, Arbor Day was first celebrated in 1872, in Nebraska City.
While J. Sterling Morton, who the Arbor Day Foundation credits with organizing that first Arbor Day, is not included in Nebraska Memories, there are many tree-filled photographs and postcards. Browsing through the collection, it seems as though trees pop up everywhere – in front of churches, libraries, schools, government buildings, and private homes. Trees even stand adjacent to Nebraska’s legendary cornfields!
In many of the images, the trees appear to have been deliberately planted. That is, I didn’t see a lot of pictures of broad forests, similar to those found in western Montana. For example, the trees surrounding Green Terrace Hall, on the campus of the Nebraska State Normal School in Kearney, grow in neat rows. This does not hold true for all the photographs and postcards I found. A postcard featuring two young women in Omaha’s Hanscom Park, depicts a meadow crowded with trees; while a postcard of Big Saddle Butte, near Crawford, shows trees scattered around a butte.
I’m sure in the coming months and years, I’ll learn many more fascinating bits of trivia. Here’s one more: Arbor Day is the last Friday of April. You don’t need to plant a tree to celebrate, but take a moment to enjoy the beauty of a tree.
Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.
Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.