Back to early June, 2015

June 1, 2015 we did laundry in the morning and just decided to veg out the rest of the day. But when you are used to sightseeing every day, it is hard to sit still. And it is darn boring. Although we have a satellite dish, we have west coast feed, which means all of our TV comes from LA stations. As we move east and change time zones, the program times become later for us to watch. (In other words when it is 6 pm here, the programing is from 4 pm. I really like to watch the nightly news, just to see what the world is up to. The next problem is all of our favorite shows have now gone into summer hiatus. Good thing most of our TV watching is in the evening.

6/2/2015

Ford’s birth place is located in a suburb of Omaha, NB. Although the original house burned, the grounds are beautifully landscaped with a large single story building at the back of the property. It appears to be a meeting place, possibly for rent. Pictures are included in this posting. There is a brick kiosk at the front of the property with a small replica model of the old Ford home and several photos depicting Ford’s early life and some of his accomplishments.

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Gerald Ford’s Birth Place and Garden at 32nd and Woolworth Avenue, Omaha, NE, was only 15 miles from our RV parking space. This was fairly easy to drive to. In fact, The exhibit and garden no longer contains the original house. We were told by a grounds keeper that the original house burned down.

Just down the hill from Ford’s birth place and gardens is a street with several large, Victorian era homes. The entire street is on the Historic Register. My neck got sore while swiveling my head to see as many of the homes as possible. They are all private residents, so no home tours were offered.

Joslyn Castle, 3902 Davenport St, Omaha, NE, is a home we happened to chance upon, in the Ford neighborhood. Oh, the exterior is so beautiful. I would love to have one of those circle rooms, sitting at the top floor, full of light, stacked with books, a cup of tea and have the whole day to do nothing but read.

We stopped and took pictures of the exterior, from outside the fence. No idea if the building was occupied or if it was part of a park or historic exhibit. We found a parking place and met a young woman coming out of the door. She worked for the “Castle” and knew a lot about the home and it’s history. She advised that she could not take us on a tour as the Castle was closed due to a tour being taken by school children. She took us over to the office to pick up a pamphlet that explained the history of the house and its current status. We also got information about other sites in the city that is on the ‘do not miss’ list.

The brochure we received lets visitors know that the 20,000 square foot, private residence, 35 room carved out of limestone is sitting on a 5.57 acre that it was built in 1903. It is considered one of the city’s grandest private estates. It is a Scottish Baronial style home, designed by Omaha architect John McDonald.

As we were leaving, the young woman came out of the offices and said since the children were on the second floor eating lunch, she would be happy to show us the first floor. WOW, what a great offer. So in we went, through the kitchen. The kitchen had been remodeled to fit health standards for commercial food preparation. Then on to the real home. The interior has Italian marble, hand-carved exotic woods, some of which can no longer be found. Each room had a different wood with the pocket doors matching the room it faces. There is a curved, French polished, Spanish mahogany staircase. The conservatory has 14 original stained glass windows, however, it did sustain some hurricane damage a few years ago.

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The above picture is from the balcony of the entertainment room, added 2-3 years later after completion of the original home. The Joslyn’s loved to entertain and what better way to highlight the gifts of the entertainers. It also has a large stage and had a large pipe organ.

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The front parlor is on the left. The rooms in the home have both gas and electric fixture. In the day, no one was sure that electricity was here to stay.  On the right (you can also see Jack) is the dining room which is 8-sided. You can see the only piece of original furniture remaining in the home, an 8-sided dining table.

The Castle is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a designated Omaha Landmark Historic Structure. My description cannot do this house justice. The Joslyn Castle Trust now preserves the Castle, the gardens and grounds with a goal to enrich the community. Although much of the structure remains as original, the furnishings other than the dining room were not present. I feel sad situation and truly hope that they are able to find more period furniture to make this grand home as stately as it once was.

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There is a carriage building, seen through the portico of the castle in the above picture. It is smaller than the original home. Although designed for horses and carriages, later cars, the carriage house is now occupied by three different companies who pay rent for their various spaces.

Skipping ahead to June 19, 2015

There as been so much going on and I am neglectful in not getting all of our adventures updated and posted. However, today is a special day. It is Blaine Marshall Walp’s 12th birthday. It just seems like yesterday we were at the hospital for his arrival and big sister Taylor was right there to welcome him to the world.

Then just last year we traveled with Blaine down to Lego Land and spent a month in Southern California. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Blaine. We hope you have a great day. We love you. As usual your card should get to you in the next 4-5 days. It had been ready to mail for at least a week but as we travel, post offices are not on our route.

Although this is a trip we have planned since before Judy’s retirement, it is hard to be away from family and friends for so long. Today we will see Ft Niagra, which I think might look much like Ft Nisqually in Point Defiance Park, Washington.

Going forward, I will back track to our last posting and bring the blog up to date. Judy

May 31, 2015 Activities

5/28/2015 Thursday, a visit to Father Flanagan’s Boys Town. My children’s paternal grandfather used to tell a story that he and his brother had been taken to Boys Town. I had presumed it was in Texas or Oklahoma. So while in Omaha and finding that the Boys Town here was the original location, Jack and I checked into if the paternal grandfather had ever been a resident. Sadly, there was no record of him nor his brother. However, I did get a business card, should we ever get more information about the date they were there or any other specifics.5-28-2015 A- Visit to Boys Town     5-28-2015 B- Boys Town

The Hall of History at Boys Town was a nice tour that chronicled the beginning of Father Flanagan’s work at first with men and his lack of success to keep them on the path to improvement. He then decided to work with young boys who had been abandoned as there was better results and recovery. We started the tour with a movie, then toured exhibits depicting the years of history. We drove around the campus which is large with many separate homes, clustered around the school buildings; each solidly built, but not having a cookie cutter look on the outside, well landscaped and maintained.

5/31/2015 Visitors Center Downtown Omaha. I believe, going forward, we will make every effort to stop at a visitor’s center for every state we plan to visit. The one in Kansas was beautiful, along a major Interstate and the one located on the edge of Old Town Omaha, NE, was in an old building, full of interesting things to do in the Metropolitan Omaha area.

Old Town Omaha, was where we walked for several blocks after the Visitors Center. The streets (as many are in Omaha) are paved with bricks. Old Town is 5 blocks by 4 blocks, filled with restaurants and shops.

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We walked along a ten acre park right on the northern edge of the “heart of downtown.” There was a lagoon, walking paths and a playground with two giant slides. The children were having fun going down the slide, running around to do it all over again. Trees were everywhere and it was shady with a nice breeze. The lagoon is behind this “selfie.”  5-31-2015 Downtown Omaha NEX

We had dinner at a restaurant called Spaghetti Works, which was much like the Spaghetti Factory. I especially liked the memoribilia decorating the ceiling and walls. Please note the sign about the Queen’s Tea…Tetley.

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One art work so visible in down town was The First National Sculpture Parks. Yes, it is two parks that are not adjacent. The two covering more than seven blocks of the downtown, contain bronze and stainless steel sculptures reflective and named for times of both the wilderness of Omaha and the early settlers as they began their journey westward. It was not easy to get pictures. But fortunately we could edit most of the non-sculptures out of the photos.     Buffalo through the wall Pioneer wagon 1 Pioneer wagon 6 Pioneer wagon 5

The first park, Pioneer Courage, begins at 14th and Capitol. It appears that the settlers startled a herd of buffalo, as a buffalo ran through a building and five more are visible as you drive down Capitol and 15th. The end of the parks is Spirit of Nebraska’s Wilderness at 16th and Dodge. In this park are over 50 Canadian geese, weighing approximately 200 lbs each!

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Who would have thought that Omaha had so much to see and do. We did not even get to any of their museums!

 

Pictures! from Eisenhower’s Center

Pictures from the Eisenhower Campus:

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Located in Abilene, KS.

 

 

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Childhood home above. Eisenhower’s mother raised six boys in this small four bedroom home.

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Eisenhower and his wife Mamie were stationed at Ft Lewis, in 1941. I did not know that.

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Meditation Center where Dwight D Eisenhower, Mamie Eisenhower and their son, Doud (who died at the age of 4 from scarlet fever.)

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A 105 Howitzer, similar to the one that Jack was injured on, on exhibit at the Eisenhower museum.