SCOTTS BLUFF NATIONAL MONUMENT: Coffee table book documents story of monument through the years

May 24, 2019

GERING — It overlooks the valley and is a point of pride for many in the community. The rays of sunlight bounce off the edges every morning and evening, telling a story of its significance through the years.

The Scotts Bluff National Monument has been an iconic feature in the valley for decades and remains so to this day. To memorialize the history of the monument, business partners launched “Scotts Bluff National Monument: Through the Years,” a coffee table book Thursday at the Legacy of the Plains Museum.

On Thursday, Scotts Bluff National Monument superintendent Dan Morford said he was grateful for the community partnership to bring the book together.

“This project is another example of the community joining hands for a common goal,” he said. “What a pleasant surprise for our centennial celebration to have this book unveiled today and be a part of the memories of this centennial year.”

Within the book, the history of the monument is showcased through pictures and stories of the pioneers and Native Americans passing through and settling in the valley.

“This book is filled with historic photos from the 1930s to present,” said Lois Herbel, with the Oregon Trail Museum Association. “It’s a real gem for our community.”

As the result of the collaboration between the Star-Herald, monument personnel and seven business sponsors, the publication honors and compiles important history of the area.

“We think this is a special publication that has been created and we’re very excited about it,” said Hod Kosman, president and CEO of Platte Valley Companies. “What we’re really honoring here is a very special monument in our community. You can’t help but think about the pre-Europeans and Indians here and them scaling those ridges without a trail like we all do.”

Kosman added the importance of preserving special places and landmarks in the country and the daily presence the monument has in his life.

“Every morning it welcomes me as I go to work and every afternoon and evening, it ushers me as I go home,” he said. “It changes with every season. It interprets every sunrise and sunset and it’s a very special place because occasionally it gives us an outrageous light show, which is really awesome.”

One of those light shows is showcased on the front cover of the book.

Brent Holliday, of Holliday Family of Companies in Gering, echoed Kosman about the pictures the monument paints every day and its importance.

“We have this geographical icon that through time, people used as a landmark to guide them where they were going to go,” Holliday said.

As the book was unveiled at the Legacy of the Plains Museum, Owen Palm of 21st Century was proud of the community effort to make the book a reality.

“This book is a great testament to what people in this community can accomplish when they work together,” he said.

The book is $39.95, plus tax and the proceeds will go to the OTMA to help supplement funds for the monument.

To purchase copies, the public can visit the Scotts Bluff National Monument Visitor Center, which is located in the temporary trailer, call 308-765-4983 or email otmasbnm@gmail.com.

For people who are out of the area who want to purchase a book, Herbel encouraged them to reach out via email with their name and number or via phone. There is an additional cost for shipping and handling.

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