Near Red Cloud in Webster County, Nebraska — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Willa Cather Memorial Prairie
Willa Cather first came to Webster County from Virginia in 1883 at the age of nine. The vast open prairies of Nebraska made a lasting impression on her. "This country was mostly wild pasture and as naked as the back of your hand. I was little and homesick and lonely and my mother was homesick and nobody paid any attention to us. So the country and I had it out together and by the end of the first autumn, that shaggy grass country had gripped me with a passion I have never been able to shake." Her life task became portraying how the pioneers tamed the wild land.
The 610 acre Willa Cather Memorial Prairie preserves an example of the native grassland that once covered Nebraska. Throughout the summer, numerous wildflowers grow amid tall native grasses in an ever changing display of color. Here life typical of the prairie flourishes as it did before the first settlers came.
The prairie was purchased by the Nature Conservancy with a grant from the Woods Charitable Fund of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Erected by The Nature Conservancy and Nebraska State Historical Society. (Marker Number
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Environment • Parks & Recreational Areas • Women. In addition, it is included in the Nebraska State Historical Society series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1883.
Location. 40° 0.23′ N, 98° 31.368′ W. Marker is near Red Cloud, Nebraska, in Webster County. Marker can be reached from U.S. 281. Marker is just north of the Kansas/ Nebraska state line, in a road side pull-out on the west side of the highway. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Red Cloud NE 68970, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Burlington Depot (approx. 5.1 miles away); Red Cloud Volunteer Fire Department Bell (approx. 5.8 miles away); Cather Childhood Home (approx. 5.8 miles away); Red Cloud (approx. 5.8 miles away); Cottonwood Tree - 1871 (approx. 5.9 miles away); Grace Episcopal Church (approx. 6 miles away); 1871 Webster County 1971 (approx. 6 miles away); U.S. Geographic Center Cedar Tree (approx. 12½ miles away in Kansas). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Red Cloud.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. These are some of Willa Cather’s residences that were marked with historical markers, beginning with her birthplace in Virginia.
Also see . . . Wikipedia entry for Willa Cather. Excerpt:
By this time, Cather was firmly established as a major American writer, receiving the Pulitzer Prize in 1923 for her World War I-based novel, One of Ours. She followed this up with the popular Death Comes for the Archbishop in 1927, selling 86,500 copies in just two years, and which has been included on the Modern Library 100 Best Novels of the twentieth century. Two of her three other novels of the decade—A Lost Lady and The Professor's House—elevated her literary status dramatically. She was invited to give several hundred lectures to the public, earned significant royalties, and sold the movie rights to A Lost Lady.(Submitted on December 3, 2022, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 5, 2022. It was originally submitted on October 14, 2014, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 551 times since then and 81 times this year. It was the Marker of the Week December 4, 2022. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 14, 2014, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. 4. submitted on December 3, 2022, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on July 19, 2015, by James King of San Miguel, California. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.