Farmers and Merchants Bank Exterior

Guided Three Building Downtown Tour

Driving or Walking Tour

This guided tour option includes the restored Willa Cather Childhood Home, the Farmers and Merchants Bank, and the Red Cloud Opera House. Visitors will also have an opportunity to explore two permanent exhibits: Making A Place: A Long History of Red Cloud and American Bittersweet: The Life and Writing of Willa Cather. Each site on this tour offers guests the opportunity to deepen their core knowledge about Willa Cather's early life in the Nebraska town that inspired so much of her work. Please read more about each site featured on this tour in the descriptions on this page.

Note! Guests should have their own transportation and plan to follow a tour guide from site to site. Tours last approximately 60 minutes.

Book This Tour

Adults: $20.00
Seniors: $16.00
Students: (K - 12) - $10.00 
Children: (5 & under) – Free

Willa Cather Childhood Home

Willa Cather Childhood Home

245 N Cedar Street

At the newly restored Willa Cather Childhood Home, visitors will walk through rooms containing Cather family artifacts while learning about the Cather family's homesteading journey from Virginia; the domestic spaces in The Song of the Lark, "Old Mrs. Harris," and 'The Best Years" that were modeled after the house; and guides will provide a peek inside Cather's childhood bedroom that is still decorated with original wallpaper.

Farmers and Merchants Bank Interior

Farmers & Merchants Bank

338 N Webster Street

Making a Place: A Long History of Red Cloud is our newest permanent exhibit housed at the Farmers and Merchants Bank, the second stop on the three building tour. Here visitors can explore Willa Cather's novel A Lost Lady through topics that are both present and absent in Cather's fiction. The exhibit includes Pawnee culture; Silas and Lyra Garber—in life and as portrayed as Captain and Mrs. Forrester in A Lost Lady; town-making and homesteading; banking and the Panic of 1893; and early preservation efforts led by the National Willa Cather Center's founder, Mildred Bennett.

Red Cloud Opera House

Red Cloud Opera House

413 N Webster Street

This tour concludes at the Red Cloud Opera House, a place Cather treasured as a community space where she could experience the performing arts. Guests will walk through the auditorium where Cather herself once performed and hear more about how the Red Cloud Opera House honors Cather's legacy as a contemporary arts and culture center in a rural community. At the end of the tour, guests are invited to shop in our bookstore, walk through the art gallery, or spend time in our permanent exhibit, American Bittersweet: The Life and Writing of Willa Cather.