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Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

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Guided Town Tour

Guided Town Tour

This is a driving tour. Guests should have their own transportation and plan to follow a tour guide from site to site. Tours last approximately 90 minutes.

Adults: $25.00
Students: (K - 12) - $10.00
Children: (5 & under) – Free

Willa Cather Childhood Home


The Cather family lived in this home from 1884-1904. Willa Cather describes it in great detail in The Song of the Lark and “Old Mrs. Harris.” Willa Cather’s room was upstairs on the north. Visitors can see some of her original possessions still displayed there, as well as the family’s household items throughout the home.

Burlington Depot


Cather uses the depot in many of her works, such as in an early scene in My Ántonia. The Depot also figures prominently in “The Sculptor’s Funeral.” This is Red Cloud’s third depot, built in 1897. Willa Cather would have used it when traveling to and from her hometown.

St. Juliana Falconieri Catholic Church


This is the site where Anna Sadilek Pavelka’s first child was baptized and where Anna was married. This church had no bell in the belfry, “poor man’s stained glass” (lead paint with hand-made designs); the parish priest rode the train from nearby towns to hold services. A special whistle alerted worshipers of Mass when the priest was aboard the train.

J.L. Miner House


One block west of the Cather home is the J. L. Miner House, the home described in My Àntonia, where Ántonia worked. Anna Sadilek Pavelka, the prototype for Ántonia, lived here while working for the Miner family. This is where Cather befriended Annie and developed a lifelong friendship that inspired her most beloved novel.

Grace Episcopal Church

546 NORTH CEDAR street

Willa Cather joined the Episcopal Church in 1922 at the age of fifty. On the north wall are two painted glass windows dedicated to her parents. She chose the window of the Good Shepherd for her father because he raised sheep in Virginia. The Cather family was devoted to this church; the walnut altar rail was given in memory of Douglass Cather. The church held memorial services for Willa Cather in 1947.

Farmers & Merchants Bank


This building was erected in 1889 by Silas Garber, fourth governor of Nebraska and prototype for Captain Forrester in A Lost Lady. Restored in the early days of the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial, the bank displays the original Colorado sandstone frontage, Red Cloud bricks, and many original interior furnishings.

Red Cloud Cemetery


Here you’ll see the graves of Silas Garber; members of the Sadilek family, including Frantisek Sadilek, whose son Anton brought his body here from the crossroads burial place; and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Cather (Willa Cather’s parents), and Grandmother Boak. Also in the family plot is the grave of Marjorie Anderson, the girl who came with the Cathers from Virginia; she was the prototype for Mandy of “Old Mrs. Harris,” Marty of “Poor Marty,” and Mahailey of One of Ours.

Red Cloud Opera House

413 N WEBSTER street

It was in the Red Cloud Opera House that Willa Cather first experienced theater and opera, performed on the Opera House stage, and delivered her high school graduation oration in 1890.