Saturday, April 6, 2024

2024 Road Trip - Day 26 Grand Island NE to Des Moines IA

  April 5 2024 Las Vegas

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Mon March 11 Day 1 Toronto to Fort Wayne
Tue Mar 12 Day 2  Fort Wayne to St. Louis
Mar 13 Day 3  St. Louis
Mar 14 Day 4  St. Louis MO to Tulsa OK
Mar 18 Day 8 Las Vegas
Mon Tue Mar 25 - 28 Day 15-18 Las Vegas see Weekly Recap Route 66 Coffee
Sat Mar 30 Day 20 Las Vegas see Weekly Recap Brioche

Temperature 9C

It didn't feel warm at we left at 9:15 after the free breakfast buffet and drove into Grand Island.

Railside is the heart of the city, where it all began. Grand Island grew up around the Union Pacific rails that anchor downtown.

Nebraska and other rural states faced a severe farm labor shortage during World War II. The draft shipped men off to war, and wartime industries attracted much of the remaining labor pool. Grand Island, in particular, faced a dire situation: local farms lacked workers, the army turned the airport into a training base, and the newly built Cornhusker Ordnance Plant required thousands of laborers.
As hundreds of thousands of German prisoners of war began arriving in the US, people began to wonder if POWs could help solve the farm labor crisis.
In July 1944, 28 German POWs arrived in Grand Island to renovate the old Dodge school which would house the prisoners. The building wasn’t functional, but after renovation they were able to use the east side and part of the yard for exercise. The War Department also provided food and bedding.

Since the new camp was in downtown Grand Island, which was an anomaly, there were concerns about housing such “dangerous” prisoners. However, most of the locals (many of whom were of German descent) were interested in their new neighbors—but socializing with the prisoners was a felony.

When time, farmers would arrive in trucks to pick up the POWs. With larger groups, guards would ride along. Others would drive out to different details to ensure duties were being fulfilled. Since the War Department didn’t always provide German-speaking guards, a prisoner with sufficient English sometimes had to translate.

In 1930, the Lyda Theater was purchased by David Kaufman and Harry Shiller. The theatre underwent extensive remodeling and was renamed "The Grand." About half the size of the present-day building, it was a modest theatre that struggled for survival in the depressed economy of a troubled town.

On May 7th, 1937, hundreds of people lined up along Third Street outside of the new theatre building. The largest neon sign in Grand Island graced the facade, which was build entirely of colored glass. It was the most beautiful modern building in town. The marquee proclaimed "Nebraska's Finest and Most Modern Theatre!" 705 people were ushered in to watch the premiere of "A Star is Born" starring Janet Gaynor, Adolph Menjou and Fredrick March.

We warmed up with good lattes in Grand Island.

Typical Renaissance Revival period architecture marks this 11-story 150-room hotel building. Construction began in April 1917, but due to financial problems and World War I, completion was not until October 1923. Hotel Yancey was named for William L. Yancey, who first operated it on a lease basis. The hotel became the center of social and political activity for Grand Island and Central Nebraska: The Yancey closed-as a hotel in 1902, was remodeled and opened in 1985 as a stylish condominium and office complex. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Henry Fonda Memorial Drive

Pit stop.

Albert Paley's iconic gateway into Iowa and the City of Council Bluffs stands at 100 feet above Interstate 80/29.
While other single works of Paley's are larger in scale, Paley's Odyssey is comprehensively his largest composition, with each of the four individual sculptures ranging from 46 to 61 feet high and weighing in at 46,000 to 70,000 pounds.

Elk Horn was found in 1901, and incorporated as a town in 1910. The city took its name from Elk Horn Creek. Newspaper articles from the Atlantic, Iowa newspaper published in 1919 on the death of Mrs. Winters and 1939 on the history of Clay Township In 1864 a colony of Wisconsin people with 3 or 4 covered wagons came to Iowa to establish a town and settled on a knoll two miles southwest of what is now Elk Horn. With the establishment of the post office, Mrs. Caroline Whitney Winters, wife of Theron W. Winters suggested the name of Elk Horn as so many elk shed their horns in the timber there. Mrs. Winters was the first post mistress as the post office was kept in the Winters cabin for a number of years. Her husband traversed the stage route along the ridge country between Grove City and Harlan, carrying the mail prior to the advent of the railroad.

The windmill was originally located in the Danish town of Nørre Snede.

Time to check in at the West Des Moines Hilton Garden Inn.

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