Ongoing Historic Site Restoration & Campaign Updates

Thanks to your many generous contributions to our Campaign for the Future, historic site restoration and preservation work has been underway at several of our Cather properties since early 2020. With only $500,000 needed to complete the fundraising effort, we will soon realize the campaign's vision for restoration of properties and expanded programs, exhibits, and visitor amenities. 

Another unmet need is additional funding for installation of exhibits and interpretive elements that explore why each site is important to the life and work of Willa Cather and to the community of Red Cloud. The new interpretation will be anchored around overarching themes such as homesteading, immigration, entertainment and culture, rural life, religion, and technology. In addition to making the sites more appealing to modern audiences, we will be able to highlight previously untold stories from a variety of voices.

You may still lend your support to the preservation of these nationally significant cultural attractions with a tax-deductible donation or multi-year pledge to our Campaign for the Future. We thank you for your generosity!

Every Campaign Dollar Counts! 

The remaining $500,000 needed to complete the Campaign for the Future will allow us to fully restore four additional historic sites, including the Willa Cather Childhood Home, Grace Episcopal Church, St. Juliana Falconieri Catholic Church, and the J.L. Miner House.

Please help us bring this effort to a successful completion! Pledges to the campaign are payable over a 5-year period. For more information, please contact Ashley Olson, Executive Director, at 402-746-2653 or

Link HERE for more site work images!

Pavelka Farmstead

The farmstead was home to Anna Sadilek Pavelka, prototype for Cather's Ántonia. Restoration will make it available for guided tours for the very first time. 

  • The farmhouse has been restored to its period of significance
  • The foundation has been stabilized
  • Lighting and mechanical systems have been added to accomodate future interpretation
  • A walking path and access ramp have been established to make the site accessible for all of our guests

Burlington Depot 

The original two-story section of the depot, constructed in 1897, is the building Cather was familiar with during her last years in Red Cloud. It has undergone significant improvements in the past year.

  • Windows and doors have been restored
  • Siding that matches the original historic profile has been installed
  • Relocation of new mechanical equipment will allow for additional exhibit space
  • Original bricks from the station platform have been reinstalled

Farmers and Merchants Bank 

This building was erected in 1889 by Silas Garber, fourth governor of Nebraska and prototype for Captain Forrester in A Lost Lady. It is being restored to its early grandeur.

  • A vaulted ceiling in the lobby will be restored
  • Infilled windows have been uncovered
  • The lower level is being refinished to make way for future exhibits
  • Restoration of the beautiful sandstone facade is underway

Potter Block / Hotel Garber

  • Fine-tuning of schematic drawings for adaptive reuse of this historic building as the future site of a 27-room downtown boutique hotel, of which the Foundation is an equity investor
  • Excavation and underpinning work to the basement 
  • Design development of architectural drawings and renderings