Our Town McCook: George Norris Home

Pure Nebraska
Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 10:06 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2022 at 10:10 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - During a visit to Our Town, you can immerse yourself in the history of former U.S. Senator George Norris, and you can even get a tour of his McCook home.

We visited with Laurie Sinner at the George Norris State Historic Site about all of this. She says Norris had a long political career. “He was a senator from Nebraska for 30 years,” Sinner said. “He was originally in the House of Representatives for 10 years. He is the founder of many of the laws we take for granted today.”

Among his achievements, Senator Norris is known for bringing electricity to farms and ranches through the Rural Electrification Act. He also developed the Lame Duck Act. This amendment changed the date of the country’s inauguration, which helped with the timing of the seating of Congress. He developed the Tennessee Valley Authority, and he’s known for proposing a Unicameral form of government, which Nebraska uses today. “He was always a believer in non-partisan politics,” Sinner said.

George Norris was not from McCook. He was born in Ohio. But he was a judge, and presided over several southwest Nebraska counties, and was even a district judge. He eventually was elected to the Senate, but called McCook his home base.

The home in McCook has a number of unique features. For example, every bedroom has a bathroom, which was rare in 1910. The house had an all-electric kitchen, and the first dishwasher. It also features a dining room with the original table and chairs. According to History Nebraska, the house and all its furnishings were donated to History Nebraska by Norris’s wife Ellie, in 1968.

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