Friday, Feb. 16, 2018
Our family loves visiting Pioneer Village and Minden, Nebraska. It is a real step back in time.
We first heard of Pioneer Village when they ran a fairly large ad in the Denver Post. That was in about 1987. In the ad they showed a photo of their display of Chevys on one side of the isle and Fords across the isle from the earliest years to about the mid 60s. I was impressed with that layout with the two big car makers across he isle from each other. In the ad they also had a photo of a long row of Farm-all and john Deer tractors across from each other very much like the Chevys and Fords were lined up in the order of their development. Another photo showed bare airplane engines from the earliest ones to perhaps WWII era engines but I noticed that they were right in front of you... you could actually touch them. They had the 4th engine the Wright brothers had made on display... their carburetor for that engine was literally a tin can! Specifically it had been a can of tomatoes! I cut the ad out of the paper and hung it on the back of my office door and my wife and I and our two girls did the 6 hour drive (each way) and visited Pioneer Village later that summer.
We were mesmerized at what all they had on display there. We thoroughly enjoyed the Saturday visit so much we stayed overnight to visit again Sunday before we headed back for Denver. We have since been back over a dozen times since with our girls as they grew up and other friends. Our girls whey were into music, movies and and video games as much as any other kids yet they always loved going back to Pioneer Village. Over those visits we got to see Minden dressed in it's Christmas lights and have enjoyed the Pioneer Village Restaurant and their beef barley soup countless times as well. Unfortunately, the last times we went the restaurant was closed, apparently for good now.
Now, here we are 30 years later and my older daughter has already taken her husband and two children there twice. My younger daughter and her husband live in Portland,, Oregon. They are visiting in April. A highlight for her is to take her husband and their 5 year along with her sister and family old to Pioneer Village while they are back in Denver.
When you go, be aware that it has perhaps a dozen buildings full of artifacts and displays so three hours is a bare minimum quick visit. If you are into the development of mechanical items (cars, trains, airplanes, tractors, etc) or antiques, you can easily me entertained there for a 10 hour visit over two days. Bring your camera.
Over those decades we have visited, the place has, of course, gotten older and the displays perhaps less cared for. Many people will go there and feel it has seen it's better days. To us, we love the fact that is is still the exact same as it was 30 years or perhaps even 60 years ago.
Perhaps you can tell.... our family really has enjoyed Pioneer Village.