Melva Sage cuts the ribbon signifying the opening of Brownville’s Wheel Museum. On the right is Ron Heskett, and on the left is Gary Stuchal. Both Heskett and Stuchal are Brownville Historical Society board members. Sage is a descendant of Robert W. Furnas, the second governor of Nebraska. The museum highlights Furnas’ contributions to Nebraska agriculture.
BACK IN BROWNVILLE
After traveling 1,700 miles from Chowchilla, Calif., the original Nebraska Farmer desk returned to Brownville after it was donated by Carolyn Simon. The desk was passed down to Simon’s family by Fred A. Heath, one of the early owners of Nebraska Farmer and a distant relative of Simon’s late husband, Jack. The desk now sits in the Wheel Museum in an exhibit dedicated to Robert W. Furnas and the early publications he founded, including Nebraska Farmer and the Nebraska Advertiser.
EARLY PUBLISHING DAYS
The goal of this exhibit, to the right of the entrance of the Wheel Museum, is to take visitors back in time to the early days of publishing in Brownville. The exhibit features two of Nebraska’s early publications, the Nebraska Advertiser and Nebraska Farmer — both founded by Robert W. Furnas. It also includes an antique printing press and the original Nebraska Farmer desk.
Visitors gather in the Wheel Museum after its opening at Brownville’s Old Time Autumn Festival. In the background is an exhibit showcasing Brownville’s fishing history. The exhibit includes fishing nets; photos of fish shacks, nets and fishermen; and articles from the town’s era as a commercial fishing hub along the Missouri River — an era which lasted into the 1990s.
OPEN FLOOR PLAN
This was opening day at the Wheel Museum in Brownville. The first floor includes artifacts from Nebraska's pioneer days — including the freight wagon on the left. Visitors can look below, over the railing, to see antique farm equipment. The railing itself is made from the historic Brownville Bridge.
This is an early-1900s Minneapolis steam engine, operated by Dan Boellstorff of Brock, Neb. The Minneapolis, which arrived the day before the opening, sits on the museum’s lower level.
EARLY DRILL TECH
Several antique field preparation and planting tools are on display at the Wheel Museum — including a red Campbell Corn Drill (above) and a stock drill (below). The corn drill was manufactured by the Campbell Brothers in the late 1800s in Harrison, Ohio. The stock drill was designed for seeding wheat and other grains between rows of standing corn in the fall.
This is an apple polisher made be the John Bean Manufacturing Co. of San Jose, Calif., and Lansing, Mich. The company, which began in the 1860s, manufactured sprayers and received patents for continuous flow pumps, hand-operated fire engine pumps, grain grinders, fanning mills and straw cutters. Through mergers and acquisitions, the company is now FMC, Food Machinery Corp.