Nebraska is one of the states located in the midwestern region of the United States. It has a population of about 1.9 million with its capital located in Lincoln. Nebraska is one of the best states in America to live in. It was known to provide good quality of life, great job opportunities, and cheap housing prices. It is ranked as one of the most affordable states to live in.
Aside from that, Nebraska is also home to some of the most bizarre and quirky things you would ever see in your life. From its attraction site to laws, there is always something unique that Nebraska has to offer. Despite its uniqueness, Nebraska is also home to some of the most well known individuals and brands. Nebraska has its own charm that will attract people. We will get through all the things you need to know about Nebraska.
1. Stonehenge Doppelganger
Starting the list with a must-see location of Nebraska is called the Carhenge. It is a replica of the infamous Stonehenge in England. It is not quite a replica you would think of. It is made for those who have some quirky sense of humor. Instead of a stone monument just like the original Stonehenge, the Carhenge is made of art sculptures in car shapes, hence, the name Carhenge. You can visit the site at any time of the day and any day of the year. Don’t forget to take lots of photos.
2. Survival Cracker From Nebraska
The Nebraskans are quite an inventor. One of the most profound inventions is the Nebraskit. The Nebraskit is a grain cube that tastes like bland biscuits made from corn, wheat, or milo. It contains enough nutrition to last you for as long as two weeks. Rich in calories and protein, it has a relatively longer shelf life which makes it perfect as war survival food.
During the nuclear attack in 1960, hundreds of thousands of people were forced to stay in fallout which led to the invention of Nebraskit by the Department of Agriculture. Also, they made some dairy bars along with this Nebraskit. Such an innovative invention on how to enjoy some biscuits and milk despite the nuclear war situation.
3. Controversial Sandwich
Omaha, Nebraska is the place where the Reuben Sandwich is first invented. It was first made in Omaha’s Blackstone Hotel in 1925 by Reuben Kulafofsky, who is a grocer from Lithuania. He made it as a midnight snack for the poker players. The ingredients for the sandwich are Swiss cheese, corned beef, Russian dressing, and sauerkraut.
You basically know this version of the story, but it turns out that Reuben is not the real inventor. There has been an in-house dispute over who actually invented the Reuben sandwich. Some even say that this sandwich comes from New York. The real inventor was a man named after Bernard Schimmel who actually made the sandwich for Reuben Kulafofsky. There have been ongoing disputes which involve some historians who prove the sandwich to be invented in Nebraska.
Now, we are left with whether Reuben made it himself with the ingredients Bernard got him or Bernard actually gave him the fully made sandwich. Which of these two stories do you think is the real one?
4. Donut Holes Is A Crime
Nebraska also has some of the most bizarre laws out there. In 1887, the donut holes ban was established in Leigh, Nebraska. People just consider it a waste and the sellers are making undue profit. Ever since then, it is illegal to sell donuts with holes.
Only in the year 1997, the law was lifted. However, habits don’t change overnight. It is still quite hard to find donuts with holes in Nebraska. After the ban is lifted, donuts with holes are always sold out everywhere.
5. Biggest Indoor Rainforest
The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, has the largest indoor forest in the world, the Laid Jungle, which is made inside a 1.5 acre building with 80 feet high transparent ceiling. It is home to many African, Asian, and South American animals. You will be surprised when you pay a visit there.
The jungle has waterfalls, big trees, and even humid weather just like a real rainforest. Unlike the extreme weather of Nebraska, you will forget that you are actually in a man-made indoor rainforest. It is definitely a must visit place in Nebraska. Next in line just finished its three year massive renovation in 2016, the Rimbula in the Netherlands lies at around 16,000 square feet which is about the quarter size of the Laid Jungle.
6. The Only Triply-Landlocked
Triply land-locked state is a state that requires you to travel through three different states before reaching the ocean. Nebraska is apparently the only triply landlocked state out there. For instance, if you are going to the Gulf of Mexico from Nebraska, you need to go through Kansas, Oklahoma, then to Texas.
If you are trying to go to the Pacific coast, you need to pass through Wyoming, Idaho, then Oregon. If you travel to the east through Missouri, Kentucky, and finally Virginia, you will reach the Atlantic coast. Lastly, if you want to go to Hudson Bay from Nebraska, you need to travel through South and North Dakota then Manitoba.
7. The State of Inventors
You must be familiar with the voting booth that has a collapsible curtain with it. Having your privacy during voting is necessary for democracy to take place. Apparently, a woman named Elizabeth Robb Douglas invented these. Guess where she came from? Yes, none other than the super innovative state, Nebraska. She got the idea in a dream in 1905. That idea led to the establishment of her own company, the Douglas Manufacturing Company in Crete. It has made voting booths for 100 years before it closes its doors in 2015.
8. World’ Largest Ball of Stamp
Nebraska is home to the world’s largest stamp ball. It is located in the Leon Myers Stamp Center at Boys Town, Nebraska. The size of the stamp ball is 32 inches in diameter and weighs 600 pounds. It holds about 4,655,000 stamps in total. It all started in 1953 where the members of the Boys Town Stamp Collecting Club collect and stick their stamps together for no specific reason.
By July 1955, the stamp ball had reached its current size. Now, it becomes an icon that reminds us of the entertainment people had way before we had our smartphones and other electronics which were collecting stamps. When in Nebraska, make sure you visit this place.
9. World’s Largest Porch Swing
Apparently, Nebraska is also home to the world’s largest porch swing. The idea was given by Joyce Ortman as an idea to celebrate the fourth of July. Since 1992, it has been placed in Hebron Roosevelt Park in the city of Hebron, Nebraska.
The swing has a 32 feet long seat which seats around 24 children or 18 adults at once. It was constructed from some section of the frame of center pivot irrigation. The Nebraskan not only know how to invent amazing things, but also make over the top celebrations. So, do you want to try this porch swing out?
10. Bizarre Official State Icon
While most states usually have their official animal icon or trees, Nebraska has its own official state fossil which is the fossil of a mammoth. The mammoth is named Archie and it is way bigger than the usual mammoth you can find. At first, it was discovered in 1921 by the chickens of a farmer named Henry Kariger. He decided to collect Archie’s bones because he thought that it was going to be a good source of lime for his chickens.
However, the hill eroded showing a huge animal’s skeleton further which made him realize it is more than just some limestones. Then, he wrote a letter to the director of the Nebraska State Museum, Erwin Barbour. Upon hearing the report, Barbour sent him to inspect the findings.
Now, the fossil is located in the Elephant Hall located in The University of Nebraska State Museum. Archie is the giant among giants and has been known as the biggest mammoth fossil the world has ever seen, 14 feet tall to be exact. Apparently, there are many mammoth fossils that are found in Nebraska. However, Archie is the biggest one that has been discovered, hence, it was chosen as the state’s official fossil.
11. One Person City
You might wonder if there is any city that only has one person living in it. The answer is there is. It is Monowi in Nebraska. Populated by the one and only 85 years old lady, Elsie Eiler. Since she is the only one there in the city, she naturally needs to pick up several roles at once: the mayor, caretaker, librarian, and many more.
She is the only one person counted as the resident of Monowi in 2010. Beforehand, she lived with her husband, Rudy, who unfortunately died in 2004. Other people have either moved to another city or died, but Eiler has never once thought of moving anywhere else. This is how she ended up being the last man standing.
12. Strangest Tourist Visiting Site
There is no place in Nebraska that is super close to the sea. Even so, one of the tourist attractions there is the Linoma Lighthouse. It is strange that a place with no sea has a lighthouse built. It turns out that this lonely lighthouse was built as a gas station in 1938.
Then, the tower was made a year after the opening of the gas station. It was once used as a lighthouse during World War II. Despite not having any ocean you can visit, you can get a glimpse of life by visiting this lighthouse.
13. Unicameral Legislature
Unicameral Legislature is such a mouthful term. It comes from a Latin word which means any state or country that only has a single-legislative system. Nebraska is the only unicameral legislature state. Starting in the year 1937, Nebraska has been established as a unicameral state.
The reason behind this change is the strong influence of U.S Senator George Norris that says by doing so it will cost less to taxpayers and work more efficiently. WIth the Great Depression that happened in the early 1930 and the unsatisfactory work of the 1933 legislative members, people agreed on joining this change.
14. Tree Planter’s State
Nebraska had a nickname as the Tree Planter’s State until the year 1945. On April 10 1872, Nebraska planted around 1 million trees as their response to the encouragement of planting more trees. With the prizes handed out to individuals or groups who grew the most trees, they ended up planting 1 million trees in total.
This day has been taken as the Arbor Day and many countries have also adopted this holiday. Despite creating its own holiday, it also gives the state a new title. Nebraska is definitely a trendsetter state on many trends and aspects.
15. Home To The Famous Kool Aid
Lastly, Nebraska is also home to the famous powdered drink Kool Aid. It was first developed by Edwin Perkins in 1927 with the name Kool Ade. Perkis has started his entrepreneurship journey since he was 13 years old. He has been doing all sorts of jobs and making all sorts of products before he became successful with Kool Aid.
Perkins knows really well how to boost up the sales and has always been encouraging and caring toward his employees. He did well on inventing great products and encouraged people to help him sell his products.
We can see that Nebraska is a quirky and unique state. When visiting Nebraska, make sure to visit all the quirky places and things Nebraska has to offer.