Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ashland, Nebraska - James Boling's last home

The sign on the main road into Ashland assured us we had followed the map correctly
In May, 2011, Don and I went with his mother on a family history trip, visiting some of the places where her ancestors had been born and/or lived.  Our first stop was Ashland, Nebraska the community where Leona's maternal grandfather, James Leonard Boling had lived at the time of his death.

There is something about visiting the places where family members actually spent time and worked and raised children and farmed and laughed and cried and lived and died that strikes a chord in me as I try to imagine their lives.  Ashland was a great starting point for my first family history trip, because it was everything I imagined an ancestral town should be: small, quaint, picturesque, and home to a charming public library. 

I loved the stone arches on the bank building, now being used as offices.

The National Bank building

I'm sure this home was in Ashland when James lived there between 1936 - 1942, and probably for many years prior to that.  It was an interesting contrast between old and new with the air conditioner sitting next to the stone foundation.
Old meeting new sometimes creates junk
Note the stone foundation

Hopefully Oscar Hoffman sold a lot of dry goods, shoes, groceries and feed at one time.  Unfortunately, this building now stands vacant.
The dry goods store had a prime location on the main street

The cemetery was at the edge of town.  As Leona had been there once before, we were confident that we would find Grandpa Boling's grave.  The volunteer was so willing to help us, and she was delighted to show us the recently completed display area which allowed us to easily locate the grave. The pictures of his grave can be found here.
The cemetery rules were posted prominently at the gate

She quickly located the Boling name in the list
James Leonard is not the only Boling buried in this cemetery

Our last stop in Ashland was the public library.  Not only did it look like the set of an old movie, the smell that greeted us as we stepped inside was perfect!  Books (old and new), wax on hardwood floors and a little bit of mustiness blended to create the quintessential library atmosphere in the small and crowded rooms of the outdated building.  A huge sign on the lawn proudly announced construction on a new library - thanks to a bond that had passed. Is it wrong of me to feel a little sad about that progress?
The view from the street looked like a postcard
Note the re-purposed mailbox that serves as a book return
The microfilm area in the library was accessed only by way of a very dark and narrow stairway leading to the basement. We cautiously made our way down the steep steps (wondering all the while if our librarian guide would be able to navigate them successfully) and then squeezed into the tiny room where we found the microfilmed newspaper reports of James Boling's death.  Success!
Are blue Rubbermaid bins archival storage?
My first experience with microfilm

Whenever you go on a trip to visit foreign lands or distant places, remember that they are all someone's home and backyard.  -Vera Nazarian

1 comment:

Yackadoodle said...

Thanks for the new post! I've been checking every week for almost a year now. I'm glad that I didn't give up... although I did find it a bit ironic that aunt Lynn would disappear right after posting about aunt Jennie's death!