6427 Miles: A Tour of America
By Gerard Forgnone
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
to Omaha, Nebraska
I got out of the Mounty this morning at the normal time for me
(LATE) and got moving towards the next stop at Minden,
Nebraska. The fellow traveler in North Platte gave me a
brochure to Pioneer Village, and said it was worth seeing.
WOW! Was he right! I arrived about 11 am, and stayed
until closing at 4:30 pm. I walked very fast, and did not
stop to read information placards...I'd just snap a photo if it
looked interesting. I went through only half of the
buildings! What an amazing place. If you're ever in
south-central Nebraska, STOP HERE! Click the map below to
visit the Pioneer Village website.
Harold Warp made his fortune in the plastics industry, starting
Warp Plastics in 1924. He thought that we, as a society,
were throwing away our history by not keeping the everyday,
mundane items of life. So, Harold Warp made a
museum! What he says below is prophetic, when you think
about it. The progress humankind has made in just a few
short years is amazing. Look at how long humans have been
on Earth. In the past 150 years, we've gone from primitive
living to such modern amenities...it's just nuts.
The keyword of old-time fashion: LAYERS!
This is the center of the property, around which there are 26
buildings, some very historic and meaningful.
Yep, a real true sod house! This one has all the
period-correct furnishings inside as well. Mom grew up in
Kansas from 1926 to 1938, and said she remembered a few of these
Ever wonder how corn brooms are made? In this machine, of
TV's, VCR's, electronics of all sorts. Look at the HUGE
fake-woodgrain VCR. Who could have ever imagined we'd have
video playback in our pockets now? Yes, your smartphone is
A vintage doctor's office, with an iron lung breathing machine.
Old time barber shop!
This series is really cool! Here are kitchens from several
eras, starting with a "modern" 1910 kitchen. Hey, they
were cooking INSIDE, with no smoke pouring from the fire, for a
change. The stove is fired by wood or coal. On the
right is an ice box for keeping things cold.
By 1930, the stoves were fired by natural gas. On the
right is an early refrigerator.
In 1950, the stove was still gas, but getting smaller. The
refrigerator was getting bigger. I remember kitchens like
this. Our house growing up had those same drawer
handles. My mom's mixer was exactly the same.
The 80's have arrived, and everything is dark wood!
Electricity was cheap in the 70's, so many houses in that era
were fully electric. Check the "appliance garage" rollup
door and the tiny TV on the right!
Here is some equipment from the Warp Plastic Factory.
There were some cool vintage photos on the wall to the
left. I remember seeing those bright yellow and red
displays in hardware stores.
It finally hit me like a ton of bricks: All the acrylic sheeting
was made by Mr. Warp himself! Is this sensory overload
here? This is the SECOND floor of just ONE building!
Farm implements galore.
This was just one of three or four buildings with
tractors. I know someone who's going to go crazy when she
gets into this building!
A swamp tractor.
Upper floor display, with lawnmowers on the side. On the
other side, there were vintage chain saws.
Just one of many rows of vintage cars. The significance of
most examples is that they have NOT been restored. Many
wear period-correct tires, factory paint, and upholstery, which
is very, very rare, and important, as it is difficult to find
examples that haven't been repainted through their
lifetimes. Mr. Warp's early start in 1953 helped him find
unrestored cars of all types. I've seen TONS of cars at
shows and museums, and this was, by far, the most amazing
Kaisers on the left. The grey one, fourth back on the
left, is a 52, just like one we had.
Snow car and snowmobiles! The other side was filled also.
Ok, snowmobile folks, why is there a hoop on the ski? To
lift the front?
Early Honda ATC90 in red, and a 2-wheel drive Rokon in
yellow. This was the first time I'd ever seen a Rokon in
real life, having seen the ads in magazines for years.
This tractor is HUGE! Check out how the shade barely
clears the rafters! The rear wheels are about 9 feet
tall. The original owner who donated this tractor DROVE it
two days to deliver it to the museum in the 1970's.
A metalworking shop.
I ask everyone I see to tell me an item in their kitchen.
Toaster? Yep. Refrigerator? Check.
Vacuum cleaner? Of course!
All kinds of refrigerators.
Wood fired cooking stove.
Everything you would need to wash anything, including yourself!
Apparently, regular bathing was not recommended by doctors for
many years. The Romans bathed, but after the fall of the
Roman Empire until the mid 1800's, conventional wisdom and
doctors told people not to get wet, for fear of catching some
illness. The placard on the tub on the left says it was
banned in its first city, then heavily taxed afterwards.
This was really inventive! Turned on this side, it was a
bathtub. Lift and rotate clockwise, and it becomes a
This was called the "Hobby House." If you notice, there
are two of each...Salt and Pepper shakers! Thousands of
salt and pepper shakers!
How about ballpoint pens????
The Valhalla was one of only a handful of formerly private boats
that ever saw combat in World War II. It's one of even
fewer that actually attacked and sank a German U-boat submarine,
using depth charges. This was Harold Warp's private yacht
before and after the war.
Need an outboard motor???
A vintage trolley car.
Ok, pick out all that's in this image...information overload!
Two or three airplanes, several airplane engines, a bunch of
outboard motors, several old style wheelchairs. Every
building was like this!
Cameras. Hey, I'm using a camera to take a picture of
Telephones and office equipment.
Holey Moley, what an amazing afternoon! I'm going back
next year, and spending TWO full days here. Pioneer
Village owns a hotel, restaurant, and RV park on the same
property, just around the corner from the main museum. See
ya there in 2014!
Back on I-80, headed toward Omaha. It threatened rain, but
never really did.
I stopped this evening just outside Omaha. More pics
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