I woke at sunrise on Memorial Day and headed back in to Omaha (without any coffee I might add, say what you will about the charms of Central City, their lack of acceptable caffeine is a demerit). My plan was to spend Memorial Day in Lincoln, the Nebraska State Capitol. I decided to head East on Hwy 66 through farmland with the vague hope a bathroom and a cup of coffee might avail itself (it did not). I did come across some sweeping vistas and the charming town of Polk. It wasn’t until angling south to reconnect with I-80 East that I came to the town of York and the blessed sighting of Starbuck’s.
I managed to reach the capital building at dead Noon. Hot sun blasted the limestone building, baking the bronze sculpture of “The Sower”, but didn’t diminish from the blue, tile embellishments. Being Memorial Day, the building itself was closed, and the area around it fairly deserted. A mall is under construction, with a design plan intended to herald the capitol building from a block away.
While Illinois is the “Land of Lincoln”, it’s Nebraskan early politics that afforded this state’s capitol his name. Wikipedia tells me that the original town, Lancaster, was renamed Lincoln in an effort by the power brokers of Omaha to prevent the capitol from moving south (due to Southern Nebraskans desire to secede into Kansas). The thinking went, naming the city after the recently assassinated president who ended slavery would make in unappealing to those residents south of the Platte River. 158 years later, it stands as a monument to Lincoln, even including a replica of the Lincoln Memorial monument in Lincoln Memorial Park.
I’ve been told that college sports are an important part of Nebraskan life. Considering it made it into the Father of the Bride Speech at the wedding on Sunday, I’m inclined to believe it. Just a few blocks down from the capitol building is the main campus for the University of Nebraska. I figured it’s as good a place as any to enjoy my salad and journal a bit. Afterwards I ventured into the college bookstore, where I bought a T-Shirt for my trouble. Grateful to the two girls who directed me to a local coffee shop (The Coffee House) where I purchased an iced Almond Milk Latte. (The pretentious hipsters could give the Elliot Bay Bookstore baristas in Seattle a run for their money, but the coffee was excellent).