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Forums » Nebraska » Remembering Pioneer Village Minden, NE


Remembering Pioneer Village Minden, NE

by /bio/billiv »

Pioneer Village is in Minden, Nebraska on US 6/34, about a 15 minute drive south of I-80 exit 279.

We used to visit my paternal grandparents in Harvard, NE between military assignments, well before I-80 existed, and that long drive across Nebraska on US Highway 6 was brutally boring for a kid in the backseat of the 49 Plymouth or 56 Buick Special. Especially so in summer with nothing but row after row of corn to look at on both sides of the 2-lane highway for mile-after-mile-after-mile. (All the while sticking to the plastic-upholstered back seat from all the sweat--no air conditioning in our cars back then.) Winter was a little better as, without all the corn, you could at least see an occasional farm house or cow--but still not all that exciting a view.

Ah, but Pioneer Village!  There was my respite.  Depending on whether we were driving from the east or from the west (Denver), I'd start advocating a stop at Pioneer Village the minute we left Harvard, or, from the west, somewhere around McCook My father was a "get the car going and don't stop until we need gasoline or get to our destination" type of traveller.  But my mother would always intercede on my behalf, and we would end up stopping at Pioneer Village.

There was never anything new, but I would dawdle looking at every exhibit--anything to delay getting into the back seat of the car again. All the while Dad was looking at his watch every 30 seconds or so.  As I remember, there was ice cream involved as well.

Anyway, if for some unexplicable reason you should ever find yourself on US 6/34, or you are on I-80 in the vicinity of exit 279 and need to take a break, Pioneer Village will give you something of a 1950s experience.  I see it's a bit more pricey than it used to be--now $14.25 for adults and $7.25 for kids 6-12. That's probably 10 or 15 times what we paid umpty-ump years ago.  But, hey, there's a 2-day adult pass for $20.50!

One of these days I'll write up a report on sights and activities (beyond my annual postiing about Nebraska's Big Rodeo) around Burwell, NE from our visits to my maternal grandparents home.