The mountains one sees from Denver are called the Front Range. East of them it’s, more or less, flat until the Appalachians start to rise in central Pennsylvania. Sounds like a couple boring days driving, huh? Well, good old Route 6 did not fail me. A mere dozen miles from the interstate is Harold Warp’s Pioneer Village. Billed as the largest private collection of Americana anywhere, this is worth a stop. Maybe even a whole day. Maybe more.
Harold Warp apparently bought anything that he could. There are twenty-six buildings over twenty acres. Over 50,000 items, large and small, are displayed. Categorized. Displayed in chronological order. It was jaw dropping. The man was obsessed with collecting Americana.
And not just big things.
Or perhaps a small history of the telephone interests you?
Many of the items told their original selling price. That was fun.
And there are whole buildings that Warp collected. A sod house. A church. This carousel.
Then there was a building full of old home appliances.
It contained old stoves, carpet beaters to vacuums, washing machines, ice boxes to refrigerators.
give way to more modern versions.
And then it starts again with heating stoves, which branch off into wood, then gas, fired cooking stoves.
There were buildings full of old cars. Others with farming and working equipment. There was a steam engine.
A building of home arts had displays of a typical kitchen, living room, and bedroom each in 1890, 1920, 1930, and 1940. There were rooms of furniture, displayed as on a showroom floor.
There’s not much that will get me to leave Chico in the car for a couple hours, but this place was entrancing. I felt like I was in the storehouses of the Smithsonian. Harold Warp’s Pioneer Village bills itself as Nebraska’s top tourist attraction, and I can see why. It was a winner in my book.