Written Within These Walls
When you’re driving down miles of highway, many old houses and structures stand tall against the sky. Most people just take a quick glance and continue with their busy lives. They are truly missing out. These historical structures are more than just man-made objects. They tell the stories of others. Within the walls of an ageing house, adventures and stories remain untold. Read on to uncover the structural uniqueness and untold stories of one of these many houses.
Just inside Broken Bow city limits lies a beautiful Victorian home this house built in 1887 and has seen 112 years of history. It has been through many changes, but still carries many of the original artifacts.
The house is huge, containing two bathrooms, four bedrooms, a pantry, kitchen, living room, and dining room. It has two stories with rooms that are16 feet by 18 feet; which is much larger than most modern day homes.
This home is magnificent due to all the original antiques still found within its walls. The huge fireplace built between 1887-1889, contains small, green ceramic tiles around the edges which were believed have been put in during the 1920’s. Over the fireplace is a large built-in shelf. Also unique are the eight foot doors. During the 18th century, these doors were considered socially superior.
Beautiful seven foot windows and a large built in china hutch are also hidden within this fascinating home. The wall plaster is original and made with horsehair to make it stronger. The house was even built with square nails that haven’t been made since the early 1900’s.
Silas H. Burnham and Leander H. Jewitt built the house and were the first two owners. They became partners and later went on to make great contributions to Nebraska. Burnham decided to start a bank in Lincoln, then someone suggested opening a bank in Broken Bow, Nebraska.
At this time, Broken Bow consisted of one black smith shop and a post office about 70 miles from the railroad. To place a bank in such a small town seemed pointless, but it had just been named county seat. So, Burnham sent his partner, Jewitt to see if opening a bank was a good idea. Jewitt?s reports were positive so Burnham mailed him a safe and they began their business.
Burnham later went on to establish banks in the towns surrounding Broken Bow. He established the first of Callaway and Arcadia banks also. He bought banks in Arnold, Gandy, and Sidney. Following this, he went on to organize another bank in Lincoln. In 1950, the house and barn was known as the “Ely Dairy.” During this time there the Ely’s lived in the house. This family faced a feud while living there. The feud took place between Ross A. Ely and Beulah Mae Ely when they filed for divorce. Beulah was bitter against her husband who was “an habitual drunkard.” The enraged Mrs. Ely shot at the “Ely Dairy” employees and took property from the dairy’s buildings. There were no records of injuries, but Mr. Ely filed a restraining order.
During the early 1970’s, renters began to abuse the old house. They were often into drugs and hosted large parties with people who traveled from around the country. On August 25, 1970, the house was to be auctioned off. Because it was in such bad shape, it was expected to be torn down. Kenneth and Jeanne Myer had other plans. They decided to purchase the house and paid only $8,800.00. “We just fell in love with it,” said Jeanne, who felt the house was structurally well built and could be fixed up. After the remodeling the house is now worth $150,000. This is a huge increase compared to the miniscule amount the Myers paid for the house.