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The Willa Cather Foundation, Red Cloud

Categories: Historic Sites, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.3/5 based on 25+ reviews on the web
The Willa Cather Foundation was founded in 1955, through the efforts of a small group of volunteers in Red Cloud, Nebraska, led by Mildred R. Bennett. Today the Foundation is directed by a thirty-member Board of Governors that includes nationally recognized scholars, teachers, and business and professional people from throughout the United States. The Cather Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting understanding and appreciation of the life, time, settings, and work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather.

For the first 20 years of its existence, the Cather Foundation concentrated on preserving and restoring sites important to the life and works of Willa Cather. Today, six of the restored properties are owned by the Nebraska State Historical Society, but managed by the Cather Foundation. These sites are the Garber Bank Building, the Cather Childhood Home, the Grace Episcopal Church, the St. Juliana Catholic Church, the Burlington Depot, and the Pavelka farm, located fourteen miles north of Red Cloud. In addition, the Cather Foundation owns and manages the 1885 Red Cloud Opera House, the Baptist Church, the Harling House, and the Moon Block. Taken together, the Cather Foundation historic site has the largest number of national historic designated buildings devoted to one author in the United States. In addition, the Cather Foundation owns and manages the Willa Cather Memorial Prairie, a 608-acre tract of unbroken prairie located five miles from Red Cloud.

The Willa Cather Foundation offices are presently located in the newly restored 1885 Red Cloud Opera House. A bookstore within the Opera House carries all of Cather's works as well as many books written by others about Willa Cather. Art and educational exhibits regularly hang in the gallery, located on the main level of the Opera House. The Willa Cather Foundation is an Affiliate of the American Writers Museum.
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  • Willa made this country famous. US136 is a great "blue" highway running through town and by the Foundation, it is still brick Good little film and store and several locations you can view around town ...  read more »
  • My husband, 20-year-old son and I thoroughly enjoyed our tour. We took the seven building tour. The variety of buildings makes the tour very interesting. Our guide, Janet, was extremely knowledgeable....  read more »
  • Janet our guide showed us 7 stops on the tour. She added so much and answered our many questions patiently. Visitors won't believe how much the foundation has going on in this small town. 
  • If one is a Willa Cather fan, this is the place to be. There is a fabulous collection of artifacts on her, a video, and points around Red Cloud that are associated with her books. The volunteers there at the foundation were very accommodating, and ready to answer any questions. Copies of "Oh Pioneer," produced by Hallmark were on hand as well. The Foundation is around the corner from her childhood home, and the town itself is a must see.