Any visit to the Capitol should include a trip to the top of the 362-foot central tower, to get a view out over the city itself and, sprawling into the distance, the plains that surround the city and define the region–the rich, flat land known as the Great Plains, which contributed so much to making the Midwest the splendid crop region that it is.
As noted in an earlier post (Midwest Classic, Nov. 24, 2014), train tracks and grain elevators mark towns in the Midwest, and the size and number of grain elevators are indicators of both the size of a town and the size of the region it serves. The grain elevators in Lincoln are large and numerous–and easily visible from the tower.
More history, more images, bios of the artist and architect, and information if you want to visit can all be found at the Nebraska State Capital website: http://capitol.nebraska.gov/index.php/building
I already have two blogs—so why create a new one? I like focus. Waltzing Australia is about the land Down Under. While The World’s Fare does look at food and food history, as well as travel and culture, it has a wide and generally international scope. This blog will center on the American Midwest. Part of the reason for this focus is that I’ve written a book and started a second book that have the Midwest as their centerpieces. The second book is just getting under way, but the first—Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland—is being released by the University of Illinois Press in February 2015 (and it is, in fact, already available for pre-order on Amazon).
However, this blog will not focus entirely on either the book or on maize/corn. It will encompass travel in the Heartland, culinary specialties, presidential libraries, historic sites and tourist destinations, living history venues and historic re-enactments, humor, nature, beauty, books, museums, recipes, videos (entertaining as well as educational), and anything else that falls into the category of “things I learned while studying or traveling around the Midwest.” It will also give me the opportunity to share a lot more photographs—because I took vastly more than the publisher could possible consider fitting into the book.
I have traveled all over the world, and I have loved what I have seen and experienced. However, the dynamic energy of the Midwest has quite captivated me. The history is as big as the region, and the people are as open. It has been a grand adventure, learning about and falling in love with the Heartland, and I’m delighted that it will be continuing. I hope you’ll join me.