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Many of the sites described in Cather’s fiction have been restored and are maintained by the Willa Cather Foundation in cooperation with the Nebraska State Historical Society. Red Cloud is home to eight historic buildings, a pristine tract of native prairie and 21 historic country tour sites, all of which are directly related to the life and writings of Willa Cather.
Willa Cather’s Childhood Home contains many family artifacts, including the family Bible. Other historic sites include the Harling House, the St. Juliana Falconieri Catholic Church, the Grace Episcopal Church, the Farmers’ and Merchants’ Bank, the 1885 Opera House (where Cather gave her graduation address), and the Red Cloud Burlington Depot.
In addition, a tour of the countryside surrounding Red Cloud includes many historic sites. The highlight of the country sites is the Pavelka Farmstead, with the original fruit cave described in Cather’s novel My Antonia.
The small, rural community is not so average for those who take the time to drive the back roads and explore the heart of what many refer to as “Cather Country.” Red Cloud continues to live on through the preservation of these special places and the promotion of Willa Cather’s life and work.
Ashley - Red Cloud, Nebraska
Arthur Capper’s Childhood Home is in Longton, Kansas
Longton, Kansas, takes pride that Arthur Capper lived there as a child. A dilapidated building in Longton’s downtown bears a faded sign that reads “The Capper House.” It is the only standing structure where Capper lived in childhood, and Longton hopes to restore it.
Capper was the first native son of Kansas to be elected governor. Following two terms as governor, he served five terms as a Kansas senator. That’s hardly what you’d expect of a boy who grew up in a devout Quaker home and finished high school but never went to college.
As a young schoolboy, Capper played in the printing room of Longton’s first newspaper, the Howard County Ledger, and he credited it as the place where his dream of becoming a newspaperman began.
After graduation, Capper traveled from town to town seeking work as a typesetter. When he applied at the Topeka Daily Capital, he was hired on the spot because somebody hadn’t shown up for work that day. That job was his first step in building a publishing empire that included what today is Capper’s.
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