GERING — Nebraska’s Historic Forts once hosted presidents, foreign dignitaries and some of the most famous names of the Old West. They saw the advent of transportation from the wagon to the rail to the space shuttle. Day to day, they meant protection and supplies to the travelers, settlers, workers and soldiers of the region.
Omaha author Jeff Barnes will present “The Forts of Nebraska” at Legacy of the Plains Museum in Gering on Saturday, Aug. 10, at 10 a.m. The presentation is sponsored by Scotts Bluff National Monument in coordination with their centennial celebration. The 45-minute library talk covers more than a dozen of the state’s military posts and more than 200 years of Nebraska history.
“The Nebraska forts rank among the most important in the history of the Great Plains, at least one of them among the most important in American history,” Barnes said.
His PowerPoint presentation includes a brief history of the posts, seldom heard tales, and many rarely seen historic images and maps. Following the presentation, Barnes will lead an optional brief informal talk at the site of historic Fort Mitchell.
Barnes is the author of “Forts of the Northern Plains: Guide to Historic Military Posts of the Plains Indian Wars.” Curiosity for what happened to the forts – and how travelers can visit them today – led Barnes to drive more than 13,000 miles in writing and photographing the sites for his guide, published by Stackpole Books.
A former newspaper reporter and editor, Barnes writes and lives in Omaha. He is a fifth-generation Nebraskan, past trustee of the Nebraska State Historical Society, former chairman of the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission, and past marketing director of the Durham Museum in Omaha. He is also author of The Great Plains Guide to Custer, The Great Plains Guide to Buffalo Bill, Extra Innings: The Story of Modisett Ball Park and 150 @ 150: Nebraska’s Landmark Buildings at the State’s Sesquicentennial.
The program is funded by Humanities Nebraska, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Nebraska State Legislature, Nebraska Cultural Endowment and Oregon Trail Museum Association.