I only had one night in Nebraska so I didn’t have a lot of time or sightseeing or adventures, but I did make one stop at a place in Minden that a coworker recommended. To be honest, I almost skipped it but I’m glad I didn’t because it was amazing enough that it deserves it’s own blog post. The hardest part of this blog post was narrowing down pictures to what’s significant because really, everything there was significant in one way or another. I’m just trying to show some of the highlights and hope it’s enough to make other people want to go out of their way to see it.
It is called Harold’s Warp’s Pioneer Village but it is so much more than the name would lead you to believe is there. Yes, it is an actual pioneer village, recreated using historic buildings that were moved to the site, but within those buildings there so much more than you would think from the signs.
One of the signs on the grounds said “showing man’s progress from 1830 to 1960” which is true but still does not really describe the volume of historical items housed in such a small area. The website says it’s the largest private collection of Americana and that means of everything you could dream of. I saw more items of historical value here than an entire day at the Smithsonian Museums combined. It shows man’s progress with collections of items that were used in every area of life you can imagine. Including transportation, cooking, furniture and even hobbies.
The museum starts with transportation where there is housed more buggies, cars, stagecoaches, and even planes than I could count. It starts of course with stagecoaches then moves to fancier buggies used later and onto the progression of the automobile. The collection of automobiles alone is amazing to see and includes a Ford Model S, Studebaker, Mercedes, and Rolls Royce.
There was really nothings left out of this collection, including a funeral wagon, US mail coach, traveling show coach, trolley car, yacht, trains and fire fighting equipment. There were also original steam engines, turbine engines, a progression of transportation lighting and various types of planes. This is all just in the first building before you make it to actual village.
Once you leave the main museum and entrance, you go into the village circle. You may think after the first building you have seen most of the items in the collection, but it is only the beginning. For the buildings that made sense, they are set up to reflect what they would have looked like when they were being used. Others that were just historic buildings, probably houses, were used to house other collections. Behind the buildings of the village there are still more warehouses with further collections.
The Harold Warp Pioneer Village
The store is one of the most amazing things to see. It is truly the way a general store would have looked in the pioneer times and includes antique items of everything you would have been able to purchase there.
The Harold Warp Pioneer Village
The train station and fire station are also set up to be original to the time, including train and fire truck.
The school house was another one of my favorites. If you grew up reading Little House on The Prairie it will bring you back to those childhood stories. It was also set up complete with books and other educational tools of the time.
The village buildings included a Livery and an original Pony Express Station. One the buildings that was just a house was used to showcase a large collection of China and glass from the era. This included Tiffany lamps and other valuable antiques in a collection larger than I have ever seen before in one place. The Livery houses tractors and other farm equipment as well as the original covered wagon used to advertise the museum.
Just when you think you can’t see more things you would never have expected, the route takes you to a warehouse behind the village that showcases furniture and appliances through the years and their progression in individual scenes of living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens from each decade. This area also houses a large collection of musical instruments through the years. There are also two more warehouses dedicated just to automobiles, one for Fords and one for Chevys, of course.
The blacksmith shop was also set up original and had an amazing collection of antique blacksmith tools as well as horse shoes. The number of horseshoes is written on the sign but I won’t ruin the surprise.
Another building that like, the transportation exhibit, you can’t begin to count the number of items, is the household appliances building. It is a two story building and shows the progression of every household convenience we have including stoves, washing machines, refrigerators, sewing machines and bathtubs.
As the you make your way around the circle it shows the progression of society, and what is there after modern conveniences? Well, hobbies of course. This building houses every type of item people collect or use for fun, including what has to be the largest collection of ink pens and buttons in one location.
Again this bog doesn’t even begin to do justice to this place. If you are a fan of history, antiques and historical buildings you can’t go wrong here. If you would like more information on the museum and it’s origins check out their website below.