The John G. Neihardt State Historical Site
Located at Elm and Washington Streets
Bancroft, Nebraska 68004
I have a fondness for Nebraska in part because the state honors its writers, including John G. Neihardt at The John G. Neihardt State Historical Site housed on the site of the author’s former home. It’s been a few years now since I visited, but I still remember how touching I found my time there, how I came away with a renewed respect for Neihardt. Outside, I recall peaking into his study, “the only structure remaining from the original property.” A path led me to The Sacred Hoop Prayer Garden, designed by the author as a “living symbol of the Hoop of the World from the vision of the Oglala Lakota Holy Man Black Elk,” whose story he shares in Black Elk Speaks. The main museum’s “memorial room repeats the symbolism of the Hoop of the World and chronicles Neihardt’s life, works, and the times in which he lived.” Video presentations allow visitors “to see and listen to the poet” and a research library is open to scholars. When I visited The John G. Neihardt State Historical Site I had only read Black Elk Speaks. Since then, I’ve read other works by him and continue to learn from his words.