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No. 5--Official Milestone

   The official milestone of Lincoln, standing in front of the city hall at 10th and P, has caused considerable comment, mostly favorable, since it was placed there in 1926. The suitability of the covered wagon idea and the manner of execution are not questioned. This very portion of Lincoln was alive with prairie schooners, not always drawn by oxen however, in the first 30 years of the city's existence--tied to the hitching posts, relaxing in government square for the night. The editor of The Journal often put his head out the window and counted the wagons on the square. Then he drew it back and sat down--not to his typewriter, in those days--and told his readers how many new settlers were coming into the state. Sometimes they needed encouragement, when grasshoppers were thick or dry dust piled high.

   The only critical note indicated in comment is the fact that the prairie schooner is headed east instead of west. That seems to indicate the backhome defeatist attitude rather than the on-to victory pioneer spirit.

   The city hall itself was built early in the city's history . . . 1874. For 50 years it grew dingier and dingier. Then a sandman polished it off and it showed up an an attractive edifice made of limestone-- quaried near the Platte river. The texture of its surface contrasts pleasingly with the smoother face of the postoffice building.

   The city hall was first Lincoln's postoffice. Not until 1909 was the first section of the present postoffice built. Until then the city edifice was on the present site of the municipal building on Q street.

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No. 6 Nebraska State Journal

   Today The Journal stars itself in this column. Justifiably, we believe. For it was 75 years ago--Sept. 7, 1867--that the first issue of the paper was brought forth, at Nebraska City, five weeks after the capital of the state of Nebraska was deemed to be in existence. The next and all subsequent issues came out in Lincoln.

   The present Journal building, at Ninth and P, has stood here almost 60 years. The life story of this world has pulsed thru it ceaselessly., Daily, feet have stormed up and down its steps, bearing humdrum news or perhaps a local bombshell of information. Loftily above, news from the outside has poured in over singing wires, every day occurrences of the world or sometimes catastrophic tidings.

   On these steps stood Willa Cather, journalist of the nineties, a dauntless young female who nevertheless gazed about her fearfully after nightfall. For Ninth street in the nineties, and after dark, was a dubious spot. Up these steps to write his daily column reeled Walt Alison, for he had not yet reached Kansas and fame, and reform at the hands of William Allen White.

   Noted people of the day sometimes came and went--sometimes a person with a grievance and a club. For newspapers of earlier days were amazingly flatfooted in their remarks. But come threat, come flood, come wars or disasters, the presses turned on, into the new century and now almost half a century past the turn.

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© 2000, 2001 by Kathie Harrison, Ted & Carole Miller