Sharing the history of Superior

Pure Nebraska
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 10:34 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 21, 2022 at 10:38 AM CDT
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SUPERIOR, Neb. (KOLN) - During a trip to Superior, we learned about some unique pieces of history you can find while visiting the Evergreen Cemetery north of town.

“First of all, Evelene Brodstone moved here in 1878 with her family, and where the cemetery is, was once their farm homestead,” local historian Beverly Beavers said. “Evelene’s father was ill, and he died in 1881. They buried him here. In 1883, the city came to Ms. Brodstone and asked if she would sell this land for the cemetery. So, that’s how it got started.”

As you may know, Evelene Brodstone is a major name in Superior.

“Evelene went on to become Lady Vestey when she married her boss. She was the highest paid female executive in the world at the time. She traveled to many countries, and spoke 17 different languages. At one point, she was making $250,000 a year in the early 1900s. She is buried in this cemetery. Her father was buried first, and when her mother died she was buried here, and then her brother Lewis and she are all buried together here.”

“When Evelene’s mother died, she was so close to her, and she was heart-broken,” Beavers said. “In England, they had a custom where they would take a granite slab and lay it on a block. It means the person has fallen away in death. They surround it with rock. Evelene decided this was what she wanted to do. She had the granite block shipped in, and that’s how she decorated her mothers’ grave.”

There are other unique pieces of history and features at the Evergreen Cemetery. “In 1916, people realized when the ground was frozen, they couldn’t bury people,” Beavers said. “So, they built a chapel, and in the chapel are four slots where they could put a casket. They could store people there until the ground thawed out. Now, we use the chapel for graveside services if it’s raining, or if it’s cold, and the family can go in there for the service. We also have the headstone for the “first white person to die in the Superior area.” His name was Robert Loudon, and he was 17. When he died, he was buried here, and his brother William founded Superior in 1875.”

“In 1927, one side of the cemetery was getting full, and the only land available was across the highway,” Beavers said. “They purchased 10 acres across. As far as I know, we are the only small town in Nebraska to have a cemetery divided by a major highway. Also, Lady Vestey wanted to make sure flowers were always on her grave. She left an endowment with the hospital, and every Memorial Day and Christmas, they put flowers on her grave and the graves of her friends.”

“I just think all cemeteries are the history of a community,” Beavers said. “The people that founded Superior, the people that kept it going all these years, a lot of them are here. I think it’s important to honor them, and to recognize them for the contributions they made, so that we can do what we do today.”