Waterman Sod House

You can truly experience some Nebraska history with a visit to a local landmark in Deuel County.

The Waterman Sod House is known to many people from the Big Springs area. It's located in an area that was once called Day town. We talked with area farmer Kenny Rhoades about the house and the former town. "It was kind of a hub between Big Springs and the north valley which was Lewellen," Rhoades. "They had a little settlement here. There used to be a school here, and a post office. Those are gone now, but this sod house has always been here."

When you drive up to the sod house, it looks a little more modern than you might think. It turns out the family lived in the house up until 1989. It was donated to the Deuel County Historical Society in 1993. It does have concrete or stucco on the outside of it now, but the original sod can still be seen in the walls from the inside of the house. You can tell that it was built originally as a sod house because of the deep walls. "That was for the coolness in the summer, and heat in the winter time," Rhoades said.

According to the Nebraska state historical marker that you can see in a park in the town of Big Springs, the home was built in 1886. "It was kind of a delivery point for milk," Rhoades said. "They would separate the milk and the cream, take it to Julesburg, Colorado, where it was shipped to Denver."

History buffs and people who are interested in following the Oregon Trail enjoy stopping by the sod house for a look. The Oregon Trail happens to go right through the area. Folks can find the sod house and the former community of Day, by getting off Interstate 80 at Big Springs. You then follow a highway north about nine miles, where you'll see a little house. There are some grain bins on the west side of the road, and the house is on the east side. To continue your adventure, keep going on that road into the north Platte valley and make sure to visit Ash Hollow State Historical Park.