Saturday, July 1, 2017

Omaha -Durham Museum, CWS, Lewis and Clark and Weather

Since we scheduled a week in Omaha because of the needed repair on the slide that did not happen, we had plenty of time to explore. We did not know what to expect from a city that was once known more as a meatpacking cow town than anything else. Just like Pittsburgh no longer relies on steel, Omaha has moved on and has a thriving and diverse economy of food processing, insurance, transportation, healthcare and education. Of course, it is also the home of Berkshire Hathaway owned by Warren Buffett, the second richest man in the country. We did not see him but a local told us we just weren't going to the right restaurants. 
Our good friend Diane Jones told us the beautiful Art Deco Union Station was a must see. The station opened in 1931 and served as the main station in Omaha until 1971. It has been restored to its old grandeur and is now The Durham Museum.
There are several of these sculptures in the old waiting room. Wow, this sailor and soldier are checking out my wife.
The Art Deco interior, from the beautiful floor to the ceiling and lighting, is like stepping back in time. Sure is different from the current Omaha Amtrak station, a small one story building located down the street.
No reservation needed, just get in line and buy your ticket.
A few other pieces of art.
On the bottom level, where people once boarded the trains, is now the Durham Museum. 
We have done a couple long distance rail trips over the years and loved it. It is slower but much more laid back than flying. Nanc in the bar car, where else?
The museum has exhibits from the time of Native Americans of Nebraska through Omaha's growth as the economic center of the Midwest. This is Standing Bull who won a 1879 court case to recognize an Indian as a person.
This display was about Father Flanagan and the development of Boys Town in Omaha.
There are many exhibits about various companies like ConAgra Foods, Union Pacific Railroad and Mutual of Omaha that are based in the city and how the city changed from a cow town to an economic powerhouse.  There is also a very interesting rare coin and book collection from the late 19th century Omaha real estate agent Byron Reed. 
This exhibit is about the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition, a giant celebration of the city's growing wealth and prosperity. 
The park we stayed in was at a spot on the Missouri River where Lewis and Clark in 1804 spent five days to rest and hunt for fresh food. It was called White Catfish Camp because they caught a white fish. The park has a great display about the Corps of Discovery as children see it.
The kids did drawings depicting their favorite thing about the adventure. These were turned into ceramic tiles and placed on the wall. It is a great look at the whole trip to the Pacific Ocean and back. 
In Omaha there is a park service regional office that is also a Lewis and Clark visitors center. They have a small display of exhibits about the trek. This relief shows the corps as they struggle against the current of the river.
Part of the Riverfront along the Missouri is "The Bob", the longest pedestrian bridge connecting two states in the country. The is named for Bob Kerry, a former Nebraska US senator. It connects over 150 miles of walking and biking trails on both sides of the river.
Here is  Nanc on our walk to Iowa. The view of the city and the river from the bridge is great. 
In the same area is the 30 foot tall statue Labor. It honors those whose labor built Omaha. It is on the site of what had been the largest lead refinery in the world. The flood waters in 2011 covered the blacksmith up to the hammer.
We did not take the riverboat ride, but it looked interesting. The sculpture is on the Iowa side in a park where they have light shows on the huge green.
In downtown is a huge sculpture of many people, animals and wagons called Pioneer Courage. It is a tribute to those brave people who traveled to and across Nebraska on their way west.
Since we had not planned on staying in Omaha, we had not thought about attending a College World Series game. This is one of those events that has been on my to do list, so we got tickets for the Sunday afternoon game between Louisville and Texas A & M. 
When we went to pick up our tickets they told us ours had been sold so they upgraded us, very neat. The ball park is fantastic, the game was great and the college crowd was all about having fun. If you are in Omaha in late June the CWS should be on your to do list. 
A few rays of sunshine after the crazy weather we had while in Omaha. We are happy we escaped without any damage and can't wait to get out of this wild, windy Midwest.

We have been traveling and doing so much we are even further behind in the blog. Since leaving Omaha we have been to Des Moines to tour the capitol and see friends, then West Branch to visit the Herbert Hoover Library and finally to Anamosa to get the slide repaired. We are now in Indianapolis until the 4th to check out the area. 

1 comment:

Doing It On the Road(Part II) said...

Tell me about getting behind on one's blog. Good post about a city that has just been a passing point to us.