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MONDAYS, MARCH 23, 30, APRIL 6, 13, 20, 27;

Location: Cargill Auditorium, D103,
Entrance 14, Lot 4 
Fee: No charge / Max: 100
Lifelong Learning membership required 
Course #20/FY-CPDV-3009-02 

“We have good roads comparatively. We mean good roads if the sloughs are not belly deep and the hills not right straight up and down…”  
–Henry Allyn, August 11, 1852


It is said the major difference with Americans is perspective. To us, 100 miles is nearby, but 100 years seems far away. In these lectures, we will travel in time to explore the challenges when 100 miles was indeed a “far piece,” but Americans rose to the challenge! We will ride along with them in the various modes of travel and see the landscape through their eyes. In the process, we will gather a better understanding of their times and their intentions. Taking words from the traveler’s journals, we will paint a picture of places we know but learn far more about the differences and the changes that occurred. 

Starting when the fastest travel possible was by horse, we will take journeys by foot, on horseback, on buckboards, and by stage. We’ll travel with a young man who journeyed to Sioux City by stagecoach and another riding the modern marvel of the steamboat! We’ll follow a doctor from Dakota City who faced the difficulties of getting to Dakota City from Sioux City! Plus, we will hitch a ride on buckboard with him to deliver supplies to the people near Macy. 

All the while, we will share the view as seen by the travelers. From class to class, historian Russ Gfford will share how the changes in travel technology changed America! 

Horses, Wagons, Stages and Saddle Sores: Settlers’ Tales 
Monday, March 23; NOON TO 2 P.M. 

We will ride to Sioux City in a stagecoach with one of the up and coming young men and arrive as the great land grab is under way! Later, we’ll see the river from the saddle of a horse and experience the summer (and the bugs) as we ride past the point where Sergeant Floyd is buried. To end the session, we will ride a buckboard from Dakota City to Macy, Nebraska, and watch the sun go down along the bluffs!

Short Seasons: River Passage from 1800 to 1860 via Boat or Steamboat 
Monday, March 30; NOON TO 2 P.M. 

What was river travel like in the heyday of the Missouri as the major highway past the plains? Join us this session and experience the ride as seen by people heading past Sioux City, only to find themselves waylaid by a submerged stump or a surprise storm! And what about dealing with the natives? Come along as we ride the river at WITCC! 

Riding with the Pony Express: Hell-bent for Leather 
Monday, April 6; NOON TO 2 P.M.  

It only existed for a short 18 months, but this trip experiences the thrilling moments of the Pony Express rider! We’ll retrace the trails of the daring riders as they rode the Plains from their start in St. Joe to their final destination in Sacramento. They were riding “hell-bent for leather,” and their experiences are far greater than the dime novels stories, TV shows, and movies!

Law and Lawmen on the Plains: Circuit Riders and Sheriffs 
Monday, April 13; NOON TO 2 P.M. 

As the nation expanded, law followed in their wagon tracks. This session we’ll check in on outpost towns on the plains and meet some famous lawmen and their not-so-famous counterpart, the circuit riding judge! How do you find your way from town to town in that vast sea of grass? 

Entertainment in Tents: Circuses, Spectaculars, and Speakers 
Monday, April 20; NOON TO 2 P.M. 

As towns grew, the importance of education and entertainment also increased. These years saw the growth of traveling events – tent programs with enlightening and entertaining speakers via the lyceum and the Chautauqua. These were the forerunners to this program – adult education and a social event! Along the way Buffalo Bill brought his version of American history to the towns and don’t miss the circus and the theatre! 

Trains: The Technology that Changed the Plains 
Monday, April 27; NOON TO 2 P.M. 

The real story of travel in this era was the railroad. The dramatic changes caused by trains cannot be overstated, but we won’t overlook the thrill of riding the rails across the country at breakneck speeds! We have stories and eyewitness accounts to amazing events in history in this session. All aboard? 




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