Sunday, November 23, 2008

Get out of town!

I like to take mini-vacations. There are so many interesting sites not far away. I think this is probably true of most cities. I can usually find something worth exploring within an hour's driving distance.

I have been watching my friends' home, and animals, about twenty-five miles south of Omaha. Ten miles south of her home is the frontier town of Plattsmouth. There is so much history there. I visit there regularly and still have not see all of it. An important site on the Lewis and Clark Trail, Plattsmouth boasts a wonderful Main Street. It's original buildings house an old fashioned hardware store, an amazing quilt shop, a wine shop which stocks local vintners' wares, a restaurant called "Mom's" which serves up comfort food and a quaint atmosphere, and much more.

Just two blocks east of Mom's, near the Burlington Rail Lines, I found the Cook Cabin. Del Hervey, a member of the Cass County historical society, was just locking the cabin and a restored caboose, for the winter, when I arrived. I didn't want to bother him and thought I'd just snap a few pics before heading toward the toll bridge to get some pictures of the river. But Del, in spite of the chilly weather, was enthusiastic about showing me around.

The cabin was built by German settlers, Joseph and Mary Cook (originally Koch) in 1868. It was their second home. The first was even smaller. The main floor is roughly the size of my guest bedroom but the Cooks raised eleven children to adulthood under this roof. Diaries and letters from family members indicate children slept downstairs until they were walking and "trained" and then moved upstairs, to the sleeping loft, with their older brothers and sisters.
The Cook family was on friendly terms with the Native Americans who also lived in the area. They did find it a little odd when their neighbors entered without knocking and helped themselves to whatever food was on the table.
The cabin was moved from its' original site, five miles away, to the edge of the city. Later generations had added on and eventually engulfed the cabin in a bigger farmhouse. That farmhouse was painstakingly peeled away until the cabin was once again freestanding. Historical Society members are not quite finished restoring it, but have done a wonderful job.

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