From City Skylines to Wide Open Spaces – Kristian Lloyd Enbysk

Greetings from the Cornhusker State! I just completed my first week interning at Homestead National Historical Park as an Archives Intern and what an experience so far! This first week was all about getting accustomed to the park and the area. When I arrived at the park I was greeted by some of the staff and checked into housing. I had the weekend to explore and venture out to visit the town of Beatrice. I decided to spend most of my weekend getting to know the park and walk the 3+ miles of trails available at Homestead. I found the park to be absolutely fascinating. There’s a significant difference from living on campus at university to having wide open spaces in your backyard. The sunsets are top tier! There is definitely a misconception when it comes to the lands in Nebraska, it is a whole other type of beauty.

To give y’all a little insight of the park, here’s an overview. Homestead has two main buildings: the Education Center and the Heritage Center. The Education Center offers a variety of learning opportunities, outdoor exhibits, and access to Cub Creek. The Heritage Center (where I will be most of the time) gives visitors the chance to explore the museum exhibits, overlook sections of the original 160-arce Daniel Freeman homestead, and visit the Palmer-Epard Cabin built in 1867. The park also grants visitors access to the Freeman School, the one-room schoolhouse on the property to get a sense of how education was on the prairie.

Kristian Enbysk (myself) takes photos at annual Fiddle Festival

Homestead National Historical Park was established to commemorate the passing of the Homestead Act of 1862 that allowed 160 acres of land to head of households over the age of 21. After completing the necessary requirements of cultivating the land for five years, the homesteaders were granted the ownership of the land. Daniel Freeman was one of the first people to claim his homestead hence the park being located in Nebraska. The Homestead was in effect for 30 out of 50 states for well over 120 years.

My first week here as been an adventure already. I have meet some great people on the staff who have really helped me feel at home at the park. I was able to dig into some of the oral history projects I will be organizing this summer. Then I was asked if I could assist with the park’s annual Fiddle Festival on Saturday, I was excited to experience this event because I love music, plus more opportunities to meet new people in the community. That day I helped take photos and videos with the park’s camera and I got to hear some really great musicians master their craft. There was even one family band from Kansas that blew the crowd away with their talent! All in all, my first week gave me the validation I needed to be excited about being here and I can’t wait to learn more! Until next time, Kristian signing off!

Tallgrass prairie field in front of Heritage Center
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