Depots in general played a significant role in Willa Cather's writings. 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. Red Cloud was on the main line of the Burlington and Missouri between Kansas City and Denver. At one time, eight passenger trains (and several grain and livestock trains) passed through town daily, making the Red Cloud Depot a busy and exciting place. The Burlington Depot houses an exhibit entitled The Burlington Railroad: Colonizing Cather's Wild Land.
Built in 1878, the Miner house is one of the finest historic homes in Red Cloud. Although a more simplified, vernacular interpretation of the Italianate style, the house is the best example of the style in Red Cloud. Willa Cather's first playmate in Red Cloud was Mary Miner. Cather became friends with all of the Miner children, but especially Carrie. She wrote to Carrie regularly throughout her life, and her book My Ántonia is dedicated "To Carrie and Irene Miner, In memory of affections old and true." The J.L.
A National Historic Landmark
The Childhood Home, the treasure of our restored buildings, contains many family artifacts including furniture, canned goods, prints and artwork, and family photographs and books. Grandma Boak's room is exactly as described in "Old Mrs. Harris." Upstairs, a "story within itself," is young Willa's (and Thea Kronborg's in The Song of the Lark) small attic bedroom; Willa wallpapered this room herself, taking the wallpaper as pay for her work at Dr. Cook's drug store. The same rose-covered wallpaper is there today.
When I go about among little Nebraska towns, the thing I miss most is the Opera House." —Willa Cather, Personal Interview