[Grand Island, Nebraska, July12, 1983]
As we entered the museum we saw brightly lighted, cheerful rooms with polished floors containing displays of all manner of pioneer implements and artifacts. Outside on the well-kept grounds of the restored village were buildings as they had been in the old days. One was the home of Henry Fonda, the movie actor. There, on videotape, Mr.Fonda narrated the historical background of his life and home, and that of the village. Each of the other buildings featured a host or hostess to explain its history and answer questions. All were friendly and enthusiastic.
One of the larger buildings contained old farm equipment with an elderly, retired farmer as host. He had either used similar implements himself or seen them used. He knew just what each was used for and how it worked. He loved to talk about them and gave us an individual guided tour. When he found out we were also ex-farmers he settled down for a long visit.
He came over from Germany when Hitler took over that country, and he had "crop-farmed" here ever since, just recently retiring. He still owned about 160 acres and had just bought 80 more for investment. He was curious to know how land prices in New York compared to those in Nebraska, so we compared farms and farming methods for an hour or more.
The land there being nearly flat and uniform is usually sold in 80-acre parcels and was selling for around three thousand dollars per acre. He seemed to have no idea about the diversified nature of New York dairy farms where most of the farms contain woods, swamps, and hills, making it difficult to give a set per acre price on a farm. Also he had supposed land was worth a much higher price in New York. Not so! Of course, whenever we mentioned to anyone that we were from New York, they immediately thought - New York City, and we had to explain about upstate being quite removed from the city, and seemed like a different world.
After an interesting visit we traveled on toward Pierre, South Dakota.
Charles E. Page, 2004