Red Cloud, Nebraska, is a small town in the south-central part of the state, 200 mi/322 km southwest of Omaha. In many ways, Red Cloud is identical to the other farm communities of the region, but there's one major difference. This is the hometown of Willa Cather, who is best known for her novels about homesteaders in the Nebraska territory. She's as synonymous with her home state as William Faulkner is with Mississippi or John Steinbeck is with California.
The Willa Cather State Historic Site encompasses a number of points of interest. You can see the home where Cather lived after she moved to Nebraska with her family in the late 1800s and a museum that displays memorabilia from her life. The Farmers' and Merchants' Bank also contains items related to Cather.
A short drive away, but still part of the historic site and its tours, are the Burlington Depot, St. Juliana Catholic Church, Grace Episcopal Church, Falconari and Harling House. South of town is the Willa Cather Memorial Prairie, run by the Nature Conservancy, where you can see wild grasslands similar to those encountered by the Cathers and other pioneer families.
The largest round barn west of the Mississippi is 4 mi/6 km east of Red Cloud on Highway 136. The barn is stress- and tension-balanced, constructed without pegs or nails.
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