Pavelka Farmstead

“We turned to leave the cave; Antonia and I went up the stairs first, and the children waited. We were standing outside talking, when they all came running up the steps together, big and little, tow heads and gold heads and brown, and flashing little naked legs; a veritable explosion of life out of the dark cave into the sunlight.” — My Ántonia

Cloverton Cemetery

“It was a nice graveyard, Rosicky reflected, sort of snug and homelike, not cramped or mournful,—a big sweep all round it. A man could lie down in the long grass and see the complete arch of the sky over him, hear the wagons go by; in summer the mowing-machine rattled right up to the wire fence. And it was so near home. Over there across the cornstalks his own roof and windmill looked so good to him that he promised himself to mind the Doctor . . . . He was awful fond of his place, he admitted.

Bladen Cemetery

The Bladen Cemetery, just southeast of town, is where G.P. Cather, hero of One of Ours and Willa Cather's cousin, is buried.

"He died believing his own country better than it is, and France better than any country can ever be. And those were beautiful beliefs to die with."


Named for Ellen Bladen Gere, daughter of the founder of the Lincoln State Journal and friend of Willa Cather, the town of Bladen boasts the home of G.P. Cather and his wife and the Bladen Opera House, where Anna Pavelka was such a regular customer that she had her own seat.

Catherton Cemetery

Originally, George Cathers's two sisters, Jennie (see "Macon Prairie") and Alverna, both of whom died of tuberculosis, were buried in an apple orchard north of the George Cather home. In later years, however, the bodies were moved to the Catherton cemetery, southeast of the George Cather home. Also buried here are William and Emily Ann Caroline Cather, Willa's grandparents—the Burdens in My Ántonia.

George Cather Home

The George Cather home, just south of Bladen, was the setting for One of Ours. In the pasture west of the house, George and Frances "Franc" Cather built a dugout in 1873, becoming the first of the Cather family to resettle in Nebraska. Willa's cousin, Grosvenor Phillips Cather, locally known as G.P., son of George Cather, was the prototype for Claude Wheeler in One of Ours.

The Divide

In "The Enchanted Bluff" Cather speaks of the "windy plain that was all windmills and cornfields and big pastures." In O Pioneers! she mentions the furrows that "often lie a mile in length" and the  joyous, young "open face of the country." This is The Divide, so called because that high tableland marks the division between two watersheds: water to the south flows into the Republican River, while water to the north flows into the Little Blue River.

Cather Homestead

Northwest of the New Virginia Church is the location of the Cather homestead—the Burden homestead in My Ántonia. Willa Cather came here in 1883. Even then she was aware of the light air, the earth, the sun and the sky, with hawks circling overhead.

The New Virginia Church

The New Virginia Church was built by Virginians settling this area. Because this was a Methodist church, the Cathers did not attend services here but instead went to the Baptist services held in the old Catherton schoolhouse farther north. Looking east of the New Virginia Church, you see the site of the sod school house Willa Cather attended her first year in Nebraska.

Suicide Grave

The former location of the Mr. Shimerda's suicide grave in My Antonia was described by Willa Cather as a little island of tall red grass. Francis Sadilek, the prototype for Mr. Shimerda, committed suicide in February 1881 and was buried on his own farm, near the cross-roads. The grave was moved into the Red Cloud Cemetery sometime between 1905 and 1914.