Tag Archives: military

Siouxland as Western Frontier, Omaha, NE

10 May

In this modern age it is sometimes difficult to visualize Siouxland which encompasses parts of Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota as what was known in the mid to late 1800’s as the western frontier. This frontier was overseen by an Army commander stationed at Fort Omaha in current Omaha, NE, and it encompassed Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Utah and parts of Idaho. One of those commanders was General George Crook.

History of General George Crook , who oversaw the headquarters of the Dept. of the Platte, a territory including Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana and parts of Idaho, is on display at the General Crook House Museum at Fort Omaha, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And now Fort Omaha is the campus of the Metropolitan Community College, the home of General Crook has become a museum and showcases his life and what life was like for a frontier Army commander and his wife. Crook was regarded as a successful Plains Indian fighter and was assigned his post and others on the frontier.

General George Crook oversaw the headquarters of the Dept. of the Platte from Fort Omaha. The territory included Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana and parts of Idaho, on display at the General Crook House Museum at Fort Omaha, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

General George Crook’s bedroom in what is now the General Crook House Museum at Fort Omaha, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. Rounded walls created more space that could be used for closet space then. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The residence was built in the years 1878-79 and was occupied by the general and his wife, Mary. They entertained dignitaries from back east including presidents. The home was lit by gas light fixtures and while the furniture is of the period, it is not from General Crook’s own former furnishings that he and his wife used.

An extra bedroom where many notables of the day, including Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes, stayed overnight at the General Crook House Museum at Fort Omaha, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A formal parlor in the General Crook House Museum at Fort Omaha, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A music room in the General Crook House Museum at Fort Omaha, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I visited there were no other visitors, and the docent left me to my own meanderings through the various rooms. It was quiet and easy to imagine bantering and conversations of individuals from the day enjoying themselves relaxing as the next day they could be leaving for parts in the west to face undetermined hostiles.

A formal dining room in the General Crook House Museum at Fort Omaha, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

What may be an usual piece of furniture today was not during the time period when General George Crook occupied this residence, now the General Crook House Museum, at Fort Omaha, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am a bit of a history junkie and it’s fun to find so much history located in and around the Siouxland area. Places to visit during a transitional period in American history as the country continued to expand and push westward.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Long History and Remnants near Siouxland, Fort Omaha, Omaha, NE

24 Apr

Sometimes when driving about in Siouxland or areas nearby one unexpectedly comes across a gem of history. Some of these gems are more like nuggets with a brief glimpse into what was before. I visited Fort Omaha in Omaha, NE recently and found the set up and area very representative of a previous military establishment first founded in the late 1800’s that oversaw the expansion west and supervised an area that included Wyoming, parts of Idaho, Montana, Nebraska and Iowa. Soldiers stationed here covered a vast territory and interacted with a few Native American or Indian tribes in the area. Some friendly and some not so friendly.

General Crook’s headquarters seen here was constructed in 1879 at Fort Omaha, although the fort came into being in 1868. The headquarters oversaw the territory of what is now Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah Montana and part of Idaho. Now this headquarters is a campus library and the former fort is the Metropolitan Community College center, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The former fort is now home to the Metropolitan Community College. Many of the former fort’s buildings are still standing with some having descriptors near them informing a person of the building’s history. And walking the grounds, one can almost hear the sounds of a trumpet calling for assembly or sounding taps when the flag is retired at the end of the day.

More quarters seen at the former Fort Omaha created in 1868, now the Metropolitan Community College center, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The former parade grounds at Fort Omaha, created in 1868, now the Metropolitan Community College center, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s a little hard to imagine with the city of Omaha bustling about what the area must have been like two centuries previous. Only a few buildings and the rest prairie, on guard for unfriendly visitors and monitoring those hardy souls heading west to look for a new beginning. Help possibly nearby but maybe not always available. But it is nice that history and the buildings associated with it have been preserved and found a new life in a new century and helping others forge a new beginning through a community college now located there, overseeing those attending and looking at their own way forward.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A look at officer’s row at Fort Omaha where senior officers quarters were located next to one another when Fort Omaha was first established in 1868, now the Metropolitan Community College center, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. The buildings now house various departments associated with the college where department heads and professors have offices. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

In 1884 a large brick guard house for housing serious offenders of the military code were housed at Fort Omaha, now a help desk for information technology services facility for the Metropolitan Community College center, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Fort Omaha was created in 1868 and a number of buildings were constructed to help oversee the expansion of a new nation expanding west involved in various campaigns against Native American tribes which included the Norther Cheyene, Ute, Sioux and Nez Perce. This building is now an administrative computing facility for the Metropolitan Community College center, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

%d bloggers like this: