Saturday, July 19, 2014

Leaving Nebraska

While in Columbus, we also visited the Andrew Jackson Higgins Memorial.  Mr. Higgins was a native of Columbus and designed and manufactured the flat-bottom boats that were used in WW II, most famously during the beach landings on D-Day.

What I didn't realize is that these boats were also used during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts.  The three statues depict a soldier from each of these.

The figures here honor all members of the National Guard and the Reserves, especially those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Freedom Memorial in the rear reminds us of the commitment and sacrifices that our military has made to preserve our freedom.  The sculpture contains a beam from the World Trade Center and the eagle represents our promise to the future.

To complete our stay in Nebraska, we spent one night in Blair at the city park ($15 - way too much, but they did have electric and a dump.)  As we drove into town, we noticed something didn't look right.

All the north and west facing windows were gone.

Not to mention the damage to the siding.  (I thought this window had been spared, but it's just covered in plastic instead of wood.)

We got the scoop.  About a month previous to our visit, hail devastated the area.  Our waitress said she lives north of town and lost multiple trees to wind.  Although most of the car windows had been fixed since then, she said it was the weirdest thing to see everyone driving around with broken windshields.  Wow!  I guess we're okay giving the town $15 to stay.

Just east of Blair is the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge which is a migration flyway.  Since it was not spring or fall, that was not the draw for our visit.
At this location, the Missouri River used to flow in a oxbow.  In 1865, the steamboat Bertrand was traveling to the goldfields of Montana carrying an estimated 250 tons of cargo.  She struck a snag and quickly sank in 12 feet of water, losing all its cargo, but thankfully no lives.
The Missouri River soon covered the boat and its cargo in mud, creating a time capsule.  In 1969, the cargo was recovered and is now on display in climate controlled glass cases.  It's an interesting collection of food, clothing, whiskey, and building supplies, especially shovels.  There are also household items including dishes, silverware, clocks, and mirrors.  It's amazing to see.


  1. That was some hail storm. Our house in Billings got hit but our siding isn't near that bad. The kids rent the house from us and said the skylight is broken but no windows. I love memorials like those.

  2. while with the 82 airborne in Viet Nam I made two amphibious landings using one of those boats. Those landing leave a combat infantryman horribly exposed to enemy fire while coming ashore.

  3. Wow that hail damage is terrible! Its amazing how fast a storm like that hits!

  4. I got a new roof, new gutters and new siding on my old house, courtesy of a hail storm (and my insurance company). :c)

  5. Wow ... interesting about the hail and the damage it caused. Great memorials.