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The little house that tells a big story

Pure Nebraska
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 10:29 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - During a visit to the Keith County Historical Society, we learned about a small house on the property that was moved due to the creation of Lake McConaughy.

“The O’Brien Lute House was built approximately around 1900 on the south side of the North Platte river, and it was part of a working ranch,” Mansion on the Hill curator Karen Nelson said. “This was until the dam was put in, when they were getting ready to fill Lake McConaughy. What they wanted was to have all of the structures west of the dam for about 25 miles, be removed. This was one of those houses. Rather than just burn it down, the house was moved on to the Lute Ranch east of town. It sat out there from basically 1942 until it was donated to us, I think in around 2012. The nice part about the house is it was filled with furnishings. The dining room chairs were in there. When we got done cataloging, there was something like 700 items that were cataloged out of there. It was donated by Kathleen Lute, and she has been most generous to us. The Lute family from the very beginning has always been very generous to the Mansion. They were an important part of Keith County from the beginning.”

Nelson says what she likes about the little house, is it represents what many people would have lived in during the time period. “They lived in these little one-room houses,” Nelson said. “Or they would have lived in soddies or dugouts. It makes an incredible contrast. Because here sits a gigantic three-story brick house, and there sits a little house that represents the early settlers in this part of the country.”

For more details on the O’Brien Lute House, be sure to contact the Keith County Historical Society.

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