Childhood Home Tour
The Willa Cather Childhood Home is a short walk or drive from the National Willa Cather Center. Tours last approximately 30 minutes.
Due to the ongoing restoration work at this property, tours are available beginning Friday, December 1st.
Located at the corner of 3rd Ave. and Cedar St., the Willa Cather Childhood Home is the treasure of our collection of historic sites connected to the writer's life and work. Built in 1879, this house served as the Cather residence for 20 years beginning in 1884, when Charles Cather moved his family into town from their Webster county homesteading site.
Cather lived in the home until she left to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1890, but her memories of the parlor, her grandmother's room, and the attic permeate the vivid descriptions of the house in works like The Song of the Lark, "Old Mrs. Harris," and "The Best Years."
"In this spacious, undivided loft were two brick chimneys, going up in neat little stair-steps from the plank floor to the shingle roof–and out of it to the stars! The chineys were of red, unglazed brick, with lines of white mortar to hold them together." –"The Best Years"
Our founder Mildred Bennett purchased the Willa Cather Childhood Home with her husband, Dr. Wilbur Bennett, in 1960 and began a years-long restoration of the house that ended when the home opened for tours in 1967. The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1972. In the years since it's initial opening, tens of thousands of visitors have explore every room of the house, and over time it became clear that the home needed to be restored once again. We hope you will join us in Red Cloud later this year to tour the house when it reopens!