Picture or sketch

No. 27--0ld W. J. Bryan home, 1625 D

   To old timers, the Bryan home is not the nurses' residence at Bryan Memorial hospital, but the house at 1625 D. It was while an occupant of this house that fame suddenly embraced William Jennings Bryan. From it he went to two national conventions, returning from each with the democratic presidential nomination. On his return he addressed his people. A sea of faces strained upward on D from 16th to 17th as the sound of his mellifluous voice flowed out from the balcony on which he was standing.

   Here his two younger children were born. From it, in a one horse surrey, William Jennings Bryan, in broad black hat, with his wife and children, sallied forth each Sunday afternoon for a drive. In the backyard the children--Ruth, later U. S. congresswoman and minister to Denmark, William jr. and Grace dug an elaborate cave which was the envy, and the daytime abode, of neighbor children.

   As late as 1935--when the above picture was taken, the house was much as it had been built originally. Now the square tower is gone the way of the porch and balcony. The edifice is corseted tight as an armadillo in white asbestos shale. We offer the original so that, driving past, you may attempt to trace it in the modern version. At least it is an interesting example of a 50 year old house rejuvenated.

   Seven years ago the department of the interior suggested the old Bryan home as a historical American building, worthy of careful preservation. There was some talk of making a national shrine of the home in which the Great Commoner had experienced his greatest triumphs. But the movement drooped, and the old dwelling is now tamely serving as a four family apartment house.

Picture or sketch
No. 28--Cadman Home south of State Hospital

   Standing lonely on its hill this old house, doubtless one of the oldest in the region, is the only visible evidence of one of Lancaster county's early and to be noticed citizens, John F. Cadman. As time has shorn him of earthly glory, so has it shorn the house of pretentious tower and galleries which graced it in its original elegance as manor house of Silver Lake farm. In those days it was embellished with laid-out garden and tree plots, even a fountain.

   Mr. Cadman was a man of vigor and action. Coming to Lancaster in 1859, he entered a quarter section of land on Salt creek, south of Lincoln. His first move was to open a cut-off (from the Oregon Trail) from Nebraska City to Fort Kearny, which he completed in time for 1861 spring travel. This was of great benefit to farmers on the Salt and Blue. In addition to his farming operations he established a trading post at the point where the cut-off crossed Salt creek. The post was also a station for the Lusbaugh line of stages between Nebraska City and Fort Kearny, where they connected with overland stages to California. He served in the territorial legislature, also the state legislature, first term. In 1867 he was a leading advocate for removal of the capital to Lancaster county--only he wanted it at Yankee Hill, south of Lincoln.

   An old biography of Mr. Cadman says proudly that he never drank a glass of liquor in his life, not indicating, we hope, that he was a rare exception to a general rule. All in all he was a hardy and to-be-relied-on citizen, a worthy rival of salty old Elder Young, who founded the town of Lancaster and used his influence to get the capitol into Lancaster's successor, Lincoln, instead of at Yankee Hill, where John Cadman wanted it.

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