Summer is now officially underway with the fireworks going off as I type and another Fourth of July holiday nearing its close. I spent my morning visiting Arbor Lodge in Nebraska City for my holiday festivities. It was nice and quiet, with birds chirping and the sound of a breeze in the tress. If you listen carefully you can even hear the buzz of insects. While the day started out cloudy and grey and a little on the cool side, it was a perfect way to spend the morning. J. Sterling Morton came to the area with his bride, Caroline Joy French, in 1854 before Nebraska was even a territory to stake his claim. It started as a four room house eventually morphed into what you see above, a 52-room mansion. What was once just an empty expanse of prairie land was turned into a lush, verdant state park of today. We have the Mortons to thank for Arbor Day and many of the conservation efforts that are related to tree planting. The handsome couple in the photo just above are the Mortons when they were young. From all accounts they were a happy, industrious couple who raised four sons, and if you don't know their relationship with Arbor Day, you likely have heard of Morton Salt company ("when it rains it pours") which their son Joy founded.
They are an interesting family with quite a history and I wouldn't mind reading more about them. However, on to the visuals. A few highlights from what the house looks like (sadly not all my photos turned out as I had hoped--lighting wasn't always good for my old camera), but you'll get a good idea. I think the renovations went on to about 1904 or so. Much of the furniture is original.
Real tiffany window.
The house was a destination for travelers and former President Grover Cleveland and his wife stayed at the lodge.
Office/study. I love the typewriter. (It's a Corona).
I don't believe the dresses belonged to Caroline, but oh my, were women just tinier then than they are now? Petite. And you would definitely need a corset to get into most of these.
Her bedroom. Red was Caroline's favorite color.
This, of course, came much later. It was apparently a very welcome and happy addition and one of the best additions. The wallpaper is not original but it matches closely what was there. Very cheery, I think.
What family doesn't need a private bowling alley in the basement? Balls were made of wood and had only two holes. The heaviest ball weighed 18 pounds.
And a full carriage house. Yes, the family started with money and the sons married money. This was a prosperous family.
I only wish it had not been such a wet and grey day so I could have walked the grounds more. The trees that surround the house are really amazing. I will save those for another visit. I hear the house is quite decked out come the holiday season, so I hope another little mini-day trip will be in order later this year.
Not much reading was accomplished and no stitching. So it is back to business this week.