NORTH PLATTE, Neb.- A piece of equipment on display at the Lincoln County Historical Museum is believed to be the only one of it's kind still in existence in the U.S.
This piece of equipment is a "ditch plow", and it was made in Falls City originally. "It was built for a man who made a living draining irrigation canals and wetlands," Lincoln County Historical Museum Director Jim Griffin said. This draining was done before it was deemed important to save wetlands. "They wanted to open up a lot more farmland, not only in the Platte River valley, but also in the Loup River valley. So this man went as far out as Colorado, and used 48 head of oxen to pull the plow. When it was not possible to pull it directly because the plow was in a marsh or lake, they would use capstands to pull it," Griffin said.
Griffin said the plow represents the drive to settle the land, and make it possible for more people to farm. Griffin says it's interesting that 48 head of oxen were used to pull the plow. And he said it was important to have extra animals on hand "The oxen would only be able to plow for a few hours at a time, and then you'd have to switch them out," Griffin said.
The ditch plow was found on a farm north of North Platte. When volunteers with the museum acquired it, they worked to restore the structure, the wood on the plow, and the capstand. If you would like to see this artifact, you can visit the Lincoln County Historical Museum. If you would like to see some of the other exhibits on display, you can check out the museum or go to lincolncountymuseum.org for more information.