1900 VETERAN'S HOME CENSUS
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SOLDIERS AND SAILORS HOME
In 1884 the bill providing for the establishment of a soldier's home was passed. In April, 1887, the home was located three miles north of Grand Island on lands purchased by the citizen. The corner-stone was placed October 20, 1887, by then Governor Thayer, and a gala day was enjoyed by the community and the entire country for miles around. The building was dedicated June 26, 1888.
The principal building of the institution is 160 feet long and 90 feet wide, and with the stone basement is four stories high. A high stairway of stone, 10 feet wide, leads to the main entrance. Broad hallways run through the center from one end to the other on each floor. The lower or basement story contains a storeroom, dining room, smoking room, and an extensive kitchen. On the second floor are the headquarters, commandant's consultation room, large library, parlors, dining rooms. The third and fourth floors are used for sleeping rooms, a veteran's wit having christened the fourth floor the hurricane deck. Several smaller buildings are used for sleeping quarters.1 A number of cottages have been built around the grounds and are assigned to the married couples mainly. The power house and laundry, stables, and numerous other buildings are scattered about the grounds.
Farming operations are carried on upon the 640-acre tract, which are of no small proportions. Very good crops are raised and the produce forms a valuable addition to the larder and assets of the Home. The Home has been an asset to Grand Island, in no manner insignificant from a financial viewpoint. A considerable portion of the government and state appropriations for the institution and of the pension money received by the inmates is spent in Grand Island.
Soldiers' and Sailors' Home - Burkette Station - Grand Island, Nebraska, ca. 1900
This postcard was provided by Kaylynn Loveland. Thank You Kaylynn!
TODAY AT THE NEBRASKA VETERANS HOME
Most of the original buildings are gone, except for the McKinnley buildings. But a walk out to the north of the main building will give the visitor an idea of how the "Home" used to look. Part of the original main street is still visible. The parade grounds to the south are filled with trees and beautiful flowers in the spring and summer.
The "Old Soldiers Home" went by "The Home" for several years. Shortly after the turn of the century it was renamed Burkett. That is when the town bustled with people and excitement. But, as Grand Island grew, especially to the north, the small town of Burkett was absorbed. Today the Home is filled with WWII veterans and their wives, or widows. There are more and more Korean War veterans residing there and even some Vietnam veterans.
There is a small cemetery to the west of the Home known as Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Any veteran, or veteran's wife, who dies at the Veterans Home is eligible to be buried at the cemetery.
The Home has a long history, starting with the Civil War veterans, through every other American conflict. It is something Grand Island can be proud of, knowing that our veterans have a place to go, where they are treated with respect, and can enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Home.