From Pine Grove RV Park – Greenwood, NE
Omaha was the city of our destination today. We have watched the College World Series Baseball Championship from Rosenblatt Stadium for many years and would say that once retired we would plan on being in the Omaha area when this event took place.
This year we had committed to host the month of May and then needed to be in Gillette for another commitment. Also, once we checked the ticket prices they were a little steep for the seating area you got for your bucks.
But, who knows we may still make a game before we have to give up this lifestyle. For now, we settled for an outside view of the stadium. However, we can now relate to TV shots of the neighboring area and those shots of freeway traffic on I-80!
Kenefick Park was just a stone’s throw away from Rosenblatt Stadium and according to visitor information it contained two items of interest. If you have been following the journal, it is apparent that Rudy and I for the most part enjoy railroad history, its locomotives, railcars and other memorabilia.
So once it was known that another Big Boy locomotive was located in the park as well as the largest and most powerful diesel-electric locomotive ever built, it was a no brainer that this would be a definite stop when we visited the city of Omaha.
Big Boy No. 4023 makes our second Big Boy locomotive to have encountered out of only 5 on display throughout the U.S. in our short months of travel. The Big Boy No. 4023 and Centennial No. 6900, the diesel-electric locomotive, make up 230 feet of locomotive with a combined weight of nearly 2 million pounds. This duo features the greatest locomotives ever to power Union Pacific Railroad.
I said that Kenefick Park had two items of interest; the other was Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha’s Botanical Center. It is 100 acres of floral and plants, attractive, beautiful landscaping displays.
There are defined garden areas such as The Victorian Garden, The Rose Garden, The Children’s Garden which features hands-on activities but the most unique garden was The Model Railroad Garden. It has railroad tracks laid in, below and above the walkways with miniature buildings set about for a better perspective of having the trains pass by the walkway and then over bridges above your head.
Next stop were the Mt. Vernon Gardens. No, we did not go over a 1,000 miles east to Alexandria, Virginia. This is a site atop a Missouri River bluff chosen for its panoramic view, similar to George Washington’s Mount Vernon view of the Potomac.
However the gardens are half the size of the Mount Vernon estate and if looking for the Missouri River in the panoramic view, you might get just a glimpse now and then. The layout and color combinations of the small garden areas are very pretty though. This is another one of those “Been There, Done That” visitor attractions. It was however free!
Final stop for the day was the community of Boys Town. In the Visitor’s Center, we obtained a CD auto tour and map. This would take us on a drive where we could learn the history of Father Flanagan’s dream to care for America’s children.
It would also allow us to see how this dream has grown and continues to be a place where children live, pray, learn, and love. There are flower gardens, statues and fountains as well as tree shaded areas creating a picturesque setting for this Village of Boys Town.
Among some of the attractions are the Hall of History contains exhibits telling of how Father Flanagan was able to spark a revolution in the field of childcare, impacting the lives of children around the world. Behind the Hall of History is 1927 house that was the home of Father Flannigan until 1941 when he moved to the rectory of Dowd Chapel.
Of course Dowd Memorial Chapel has been a big part of the Village for more than 60 years. The chapel stands as a symbol of the commitment to helping troubled youth transform their lives with a positive balance of spiritual, intellectual and physical. It is in the tradition of a 15th century Gothic church.
Inside are numerous beautiful stained glass windows as well as a 400 pipe organ. Adjacent on the west side in an octagonal room with 21 stained glass windows, is where the famous founder; Father Flanagan is entombed.
Chambers Protestant Chapel is the spiritual home for the Protestant youth of the Village. It is also of Gothic architecture which was specifically chosen to compliment Dowd Chapel.
Both chapels are linked by a 3 acre Garden of the Bible. This garden features numerous species of plants, herbs, trees, fruits, grains, reeds and shrubs referred to in the Bible. Another thing that links the two chapels is they stand equal distance from the Two Brothers Statue that has become the symbol of Boys Town.
Of a trivial note, while in the Visitor’s Center and Gift Shop, we viewed The World’s Largest Stamp Ball. Weighing 600 pounds, 32 inches in diameter, and containing 4,665,000 stamps it has been recognized by Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
The visit and history of Boys Town was a wonderful end to a beautiful and wonderful day enjoyed by all. Till Later……..