No. 55--Yankee Hill Brick Mfg. Co.
To the child, grandmother and grandfather were never young--that was too far away and long ago for him to picture in the faintest degree. So with cities and towns as we contemplate them today. Our imaginations are scarcely more elastic than the child's. We see Lincoln as it is now; Yankee Hill as it is, or almost is not, today. Seventy-five years ago they were two little sisters, side by side, quarreling over a pile of blocks--the first state capitol.
The story is that when the commissioners were on a tour in search of a capital site they were given a chicken dinner by the ladies of Yankee Hill, followed by ice cream, "a treat which astonished them greatly, as it was undoubtedly the first ice cream to be served in the wilds of the salt basin." The commissioners, never the less, gave the prize to Lincoln.
And now, as in some parable of two sisters, Yankee Hill, in her barren old age, toils daily in the making of bricks which pile up to the magnification of the fortunate sister, Lincoln.
The bricks works are almost sixty years old. It is an interesting fact that as late as 20 years ago there were nearly 50 brick plants in Nebraska. Gradually they disappeared, for one reason or another, one of which was that the right kind of clay can't be found just anywhere one might throw up a factory. There are now four in the state--at Yankee Hill, Nebraska City, Hastings and Endicott. Yankee Hill, adjoining Pioneers park on the southeast, makes all kinds of brick, many of which are used in Lincoln and many shipped to other places. Plant capacity is 80,000 bricks a day.
No. 56--Whitehall, 5903 Walker
Whitehall has romantic appeal, for a number of reasons. It was once the home of Mrs. C. C. White, pioneer Lincoln resident and Methodist, and, in its calico and cornbread days, one of Lincoln's first young ladies. When in later years one of the White daughters became the wife of an Italian count there was a general pleased feeling of something of other--as that east and west do sometimes meet, or that it's just one step from pioneer to peeress.
Mrs. White, who had presented Wesleyan university with a college building named for Mr. White, long deceased, later gave Whitehall to the state as a home for children. There is sometimes romance in Whitehall even yet .We once wrote a story about the children, picturing the one red-headed child, a good and wistful little boy. The parents of red-haired twin girls, seeing the picture, arranged to adopt him.
It is of course dangerous to expose yourself to childish charm at Whitehall--you might come away a parent. Forty years ago a train of New York waifs was sent out thru Nebraska. A woman, feeling idle curiosity, went down to see the train come into her small town. As she stood on the platform she noticed a small boy--he is now a Lincoln man--walking forward and looking up most earnestly at all the people around him. When he saw this woman he took her hand and said, modestly but confidently, that he would like her to be his mother. Altho already supplied with a child of her own, the woman found it impossible to refuse. And, happily, he turned out to be the best of sons and the finest of men.
© 2000, 2001 by Kathie Harrison, Ted & Carole Miller