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Can’t Be an Expert in Your Own Backyard

posted Apr 13, 2017, 7:52 AM by James Nennemann
By:  The Attic Editors

All of us know the cliché, “you are not an expert unless you are fifty miles from home.”  What is it that makes us think things close to home are not special?  We, the Attic Editors, see this constantly with the history of Fremont County.  All of us living today 2016, drive the byways of the County and think of the County as being an area of large farms, growing millions of bushels of corn and soybeans, with small towns struggling to exist. If asked, we would probably tell you that the Loess Hills have always been tree covered.  We might brag about Iowa’s Championship Rodeo held in Sidney for the last 90 plus years but otherwise we would not think about the County having anything special.   We might wonder at the asparagus we see growing wild in the Hamburg area or the fruit trees that are found in the hills in what appears to be remnants of orchards. 

In 1916, residents would have driven the byways and they would have been aware of the many small farms everywhere and thought about the thriving towns in the County where they could go and get everything they needed. They would have known that through the railroad system we were supplying Omaha, Council Bluffs, Saint Joseph and Kansas City with fruits and vegetables. The trains also carried countless heads of cattle and pigs to market from the County. Many of the residents would have worked at mills and other industries throughout the County.

In 1816, the Loess Hills would have been grass covered hills rising out of the river bottom.  Lewis and Clark, a decade earlier, had described the County in their journals. French Canadian trappers would be coming with their Lakota Wives to this area to raise their children. Folks in the Civil Bend area were establishing homesteads. The settlement of the County had begun.

All of this gets us back to the reason for this Attic.  Each part of this County has a diverse and interesting story or stories that all of us should know to help us ground ourselves and better understand our heritage. What better place than a County Museum such as the Fremont County History Center and Iowa’s Championship Rodeo Museum in Sidney  to learn about our history?  Or do we fall victim to thinking it can’t be special, it isn’t fifty miles from home? 

Well here is what folks think that visit us from other places.  We have been called the Reader’s Digest Museum because of so much great information in a small Museum.  Others have side we are a gem because we are so interesting and so professionally done. Just last week two men from the news print profession stopped by the Museum to gather information for stories to use in their papers. One was particularly looking for fossils. He stopped by the mammoth tusks and suddenly exclaimed “that is a squid fossil.  What a find. It is a real treasure and it tells us this area was covered with the sea.” He was also impressed with the Indian artifacts and the professional way they were displayed.  He said “I came to look at only them but now I want to see the rest of the Museum, it is so interesting and informative.”

So next time you think nothing special has ever occurred here, stop by the Museum; take the time to enjoy this beautiful and informative museum then leave proud of being a Fremont County resident.