Great, plain.
June 6, 2005 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Nebraska's small towns. Some of the smaller ones actually have a lot going on. Some of the (slightly) larger ones, maybe not so much. But no matter how small they are, they do all have bars. Even the two smallest.
posted by dersins (26 comments total)
Full disclosure: I've been to bars in all of these towns, and I own property in one of them.
posted by dersins at 8:57 AM on June 6, 2005

Burwell ain't small! They got a huge rodeo every year! /former NEskan.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:10 AM on June 6, 2005

I'm wondering what kind of deep discussion will result from this information......

and...dersins, which bar do you own property in? Like, just a stool, or a whole booth?

(I will only take correction on my interpretation of this from a documented English major!)

posted by HuronBob at 9:12 AM on June 6, 2005

But no matter how small they are, they do all have bars.

Monowi village: population 2 white people.

Now there's a bar to go to when you want to drink alone.
posted by three blind mice at 9:17 AM on June 6, 2005

Huron Bob, thank you for your incredibly helpful grammar critique. It has made me see the error of my ways. I am a changed man, and will devote the rest of my life to intense study of Strunk & White.
posted by dersins at 9:17 AM on June 6, 2005


t'was not a gammar critique... as i read your post, I pictured owning property in a bar, found it to be a funny thought, and passed it along....

my grammer is as bad, worse, than most folks.....

my sense of humor, however, seems to surpass a few....
posted by HuronBob at 9:38 AM on June 6, 2005

How can you not mention White Clay, NE? This little village (population 22) sells $4 MILLION in beer every year. How? There is a dry reservation just across the state line. See: Another Man's Poison:
Profit and Loss in White Clay
and Alcohol - a tool of oppression against Native Americans.
posted by spock at 9:40 AM on June 6, 2005

This isn't limited to Nebraska, and it's not necessarily a bad thing. As I understand it, Plantersville Texas consists of an orchard, a church, a seasonal renfaire and not much else. They seem to be doing rather well for themselves. That's just one of the little towns across the prairies, farmlands, forests, and deserts that comprise the largest state in the union (not counting California and Alaska, cuz, well, they don't). We got towns here that consist of a truck stop and a portapotty. We got rest areas smaller than a Winnebago. In Texas, we even do little up big.

I guess it depends on how one looks at it: the whole glass-half-empty-half-full thing.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:53 AM on June 6, 2005

I have borne unwilling witness to the terminal boredom that is small-town Nebraska and its roadside attractions...specifically, the sandhill crane pit stop, which is in the middle of the middle of nowhere. Note to the Mullen Chamber of Commerce: if that's the best you've got, maybe it's time to reconsider legalizing prostitution.
posted by Vervain at 10:09 AM on June 6, 2005

Great post dersins, it's nice to read about life in a different corner of the globe.
posted by ruelle at 10:24 AM on June 6, 2005


Actually Mullen has a great historical museum as well, located in an old railroad hotel. (It's not online, though). When I stopped in last summer, the old gentleman who runs it (I believe his name was Mr. Franklin) happened to mention that Mullen didn't get "the electric" until 1955-- a full decade after he had come home from serving in the pacific fleet during WWII.

Additionally, Mullen has the Sand Hills Golf Club just a few miles to the south. IANAG, but Sand Hills is widely considered to be one of the best in the country, if not the world, and if you've ever been through the Nebraska Sand Hills, you can understand why they seem like the perfect location for a golf course. Hell they pretty much look like a 20,000 square mile links-style course already.
posted by dersins at 10:44 AM on June 6, 2005

if that's the best you've got, maybe it's time to reconsider legalizing prostitution

Believe me, it could be worse. I think half of Valentine, NE's town income comes from people routing their postage through for Feb. 14th.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:56 AM on June 6, 2005

There's always Carhenge, just outside of Alliance!

(Lived in Gordon, went to college at Chadron)
posted by Miss Bitchy Pants at 1:24 PM on June 6, 2005

Central Nebraska is monotony given geocraphy, but the badlands in Western Nebraska around Toadstool national park are good hiking and geologically interesting, and the Northern marches along the South Dakota border have some interesting spots. I like Ole's Big Game Bar and Scott's Bluff, probably the only climb-worthy feature in the whole state. Carhenge is amusing if you happen to be in the area. Chadron is a very nice town, and you can visit the Pine Ridge reservation and the nondescript little valley where the Wounded Knee massacre occured. The poverty I saw on the Pine Ridge reservation surpassed anything I saw when I travelled to Italy, Greece, and Turkey (that trip being the closest to the third world I've ever been). I grew up in Omaha, which is nothing like the rest of the state.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 3:27 PM on June 6, 2005

I remember going on a geology field trip up to Dinosaur National Monument, and we spent a night in Silt, CO.
Silt was named by the fact that when the railroad used to come through there, there was a simple warning of "silt" on the tracks so the engineer would slow the train down.
We slept on the floor in the local church, since there wasn't a hotel.
There was a bar, tho..
I went there that night with some other students, and played pool with a couple locals.
One said he has never left Silt.
He looked 35+.
I, somehow, couldn't believe him.
posted by Balisong at 5:59 PM on June 6, 2005 [1 favorite]

Ditto on Loveland, CO, Civil_Disobedient.
posted by Balisong at 6:00 PM on June 6, 2005

I do wish we had a place to shop for clothes and gifts, or a movie theater.

Good to see life continue after "The Last Picture Show"
posted by stbalbach at 7:16 PM on June 6, 2005

Derive the Hamiltonian of... wrote:
Chadron is a very nice town, and you can visit the Pine Ridge reservation and the nondescript little valley where the Wounded Knee massacre occured.
Chadron is in Nebraska, but unless there has been a massive event of some sort, Pine Ridge and Wounded Knee are in South Dakota.
posted by Cranberry at 10:13 PM on June 6, 2005

Cranberry; no kidding, but both are nearby, and very connected to Chadron. I guess I could have written that Pine Ridge and wounded knee are about a 45 minute drive north. I get a snarky vibe from your comment, but that's probably just because it happens to be directed at me.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 11:00 PM on June 6, 2005

My favorite town in Nebraska.
BTW, great post timing as I am headed there at the end of this week (my Grandmother lives in the "boomtown" of Holdrege)!
posted by numlok at 11:06 PM on June 6, 2005

Don't worry Derive the Hamiltonian of..., Cranberry is known to be acerbic.
posted by Floydd at 6:40 AM on June 7, 2005

My dad is from Grand Island, NE (not an island.) He sometimes pines that he should not have moved to the east coast because he lost touch with all his friends. But for my sake thank God he did.
posted by Dr_Octavius at 11:13 AM on June 8, 2005

A couple of years ago we drove on a "scenic route" through Nebraska on our way to Kansas City, St. Louis, and Chicago (it was a trip to see baseball games in all of those places, then back through IA, NE, WY, etc.) and were amused to see what qualifies as a "National Forest" there. (Hey, I'm from the Pacific Northwest, so I know forests!) There were a few trees. Not so many, really.

On the way back we stayed in O'Neill, NE, and were quite surprised when we opened the door to our room in what Road Trip USA called a beautifully restored 1910 hotel to see this. And this. And of course, the huge shamrock painted in the middle of the intersection below our window!

It's definitely a different sort of place, that is for sure.
posted by litlnemo at 12:33 PM on June 8, 2005


But it is the only man made national forest, FWIW.

So were you taking Highway 2 through the sandhills? That is possibly my favorite drive ever....
posted by dersins at 6:08 PM on June 8, 2005

IIRC, it was Hwy 2, then another highway... 20? I would have to check a map to be sure, so I'm probably wrong. It was not an interstate, that's for sure. I hate interstates. ;)

Anyway, we went through the sandhills, then over to Lincoln (stopped for lunch and that was all), on to KC, St. Louis, and Chicago, then back through Iowa and Nebraska again (that was when we stayed in O'Neill). Almost entirely on the "old" highways, except for the drive between KC-StL-Chi, when we had time constraints. (Baseball games on 3 consecutive days, one of them being July 4... it was a blast, but a little rushed for a few days there. I strongly recommend it, though!)

It was a fascinating drive, though it wasn't full of thrills and excitement during the NE portion... it was interesting.
posted by litlnemo at 2:17 AM on June 9, 2005

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