Exploring Beatrice, Nebraska

During the week of September 2 – 7, Barb and I drove up to be with my Dad, his brother, and his four sisters – and we all met in the little town of Beatrice, Nebraska (which they grew up near). My previous post showed my favorite photos that I took on Labor Day, which was on Monday, Sept. 3rd. When we got to the motel that evening, Dad asked if I would like to go out with him and take some photos of the town. Of course, I jumped at the chance!. This post just shows about a dozen of my favorite photos that I took on the morning of September 4, 2012 in Beatrice, Nebraska.

We met in the breakfast area of the Holiday Inn Express just before 9:00 AM, and we didn’t have to go very far to take our first photo. The “Welcome to Beatrice” sign shown above was just outside, between us and the highway, US 77.

Turning around, I thought that the morning light looked really nice as it sort of wrapped around the curved base of the sign for the motel.

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Walking over to the base of the sign, I took the obligatory travel photo showing our “home away from home” for the week. That’s my Dad in the yellow “Wife Beater” T-shirt that seems to be his usual attire lately.

We got into my Honda CR-V and drove south on US 77 a few miles until we got to the Gage County Courthouse, which is located on the east side of US 77 (named North 6th Street) and north of Grant St. I took this photo from the west, looking east into the low morning sun, at 9:20 AM.

Walking east on Grant Street about 30 yards, gets you a nice view of the front of the courthouse building.

At the end of the front sidewalk, near where it meets the street, is a memorial to the veterans that have served our country in the armed forces.

I took the photo above (and all of the photos that morning) with my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera mounted on top of my Gitzo GT1542T tripod. Whenever I use a tripod, I slow way down. I make sure that the camera is level, I study what is in the viewfinder, paying more attention to what is visible around the perimeter of the photo, and finally get the exposure settings the way that I want. I probably even rotated the circular polarizer on the front of the 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens to get the reflections of the windows to what looked best at the time. I probably took 2 minutes to take this one photo.

After I pressed the button on the remote cable release, I stood up straight, and noticed the couple right behind me. I do not know how long they had been patiently waiting for me, but I was in their way. I said “excuse me”, and they replied in a very friendly “no problem”, and I immediately got out of their path on the sidewalk. They seemed somewhat interested in what I was doing.

I was struck by how differently this was than how it probably would have played out back home in Austin. 9 times out of 10, they would have simply walked around me, up the sidewalk – into my shot – and I’d simply have to wait a minute or two for them to vanish – and hope no one else would wander into my photo. Sometimes I wait a long time to get the photo that I want.

As we walked back to North 6th St., I saw what appeared to be a very large black bird sitting on top of a church spire a couple of blocks away. It had spread its wings out wide, and was warming them in the morning sun.

That was as “telephoto” as my 12-50mm lens would get, and this was one time that I wished I had my Canon camera and lenses with me.

We wanted to walk south one block on North 6th Street to get to High Street. Halfway through that block, as I looked west across the street, I noticed the moon was setting above the Post Office building. It was 9:36 AM.

Just south of High Street, I caught up with Dad in a parking lot. He was getting setup to photograph St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Dad shoots a Canon 7D on a Manfrotto tripod. He is a fairly decent photographer!

Here are a couple of photos that I took of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. This church is where all my relatives that live in Beatrice attend, and it is significant to me in that I have attended both of my grandparents (on my father’s side) in this church.

We didn’t think about it at the time but we probably should have gone inside and photographed the beautiful stained glass windows.

We walked back to our car in the Burger King parking lot, across from the county courthouse. We then drove 7 blocks south on North 6th Street, turned west on Court Street, and drove 4 blocks to North 2nd Street. We parked on North 2nd Street, directly across from the Gage County Historical Society and Museum.

The building is the former Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Passenger Station. While riding around in the car later that week, my Aunt Virginia told a story of how she had boarded a train here sometime in the 1940’s to go the 40 miles to the “big city” of Lincoln, Nebraska. Evidently, it took a large portion of your day back then, if you drove to Lincoln in your car.

Just to the left (south) of the building is a nice looking red caboose, sitting under a windmill.

Across Court Street is a working grain elevator. It is between the railroad tracks and the Big Blue River.

The sun was getting rather harsh, and higher in the sky by 10:15 AM, but I still wanted to get an isolated photo of just the caboose. That is the shadow of the windmill cast upon the side of the caboose.

Although it is pretty “cliche”, I setup my tripod in the center of the railroad tracks, and took this photo looking north.

Walking back toward the front of the museum, I passed this decorative ironwork fence. I do not think that they have a problem with people just hanging around and sitting on their fence…

I have always thought it rather strange to see the Statue of Liberty out in the middle of the heart of America’s farmland, but here she is.

This copy of the Statue of Liberty was dedicated by the Boy Scouts of America in 1951.

I took 5 or 6 photos of this scene, and chose the one that had the American Flag outstretched best, the way I wanted it to be.

Across North 2nd Street, under a shaded structure, there are 4 different information signs that tell a lot about the heritage of Beatrice, Nebraska. Here is the one sign that told about the importance of the railroads to this area.

It was now 10:30 AM, the temperature was getting close to 90 degrees (32 C), and we needed to get back to the motel and get cleaned up so that we could get over to Aunt Jeanette’s for lunch before noon.

I realize that these are pretty much just “touristy” types of snapshots, but they do have a special meaning to me. I hope that you enjoyed seeing them.

One thought on “Exploring Beatrice, Nebraska”

  1. Oh how I hate those new Holiday Inn signs. That one looks like a bad silo.

    On the Burger King shot that color is just Wow – so good. Such a far cry from the color you used to get from some digital even just 5 years ago.

    It’s too bad you did not get some church interiors – the one on the church’s website is very sad and they could use something new. When I shoot these little small town churches I often send a shot or two to the parish. They’re not doing me any good just laying on the hard drive.

    I;ve never heard of Beatrice before, but hey, train cars and a windmill – I’m there!

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