Out of the Museum

Whatever could this item be?

-A +A


Where: Beermann Plaza at 640 5th St.

When: Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays

Free: Donations always accepted

Readers are on a roll. Several residents knew what last week’s mystery item was and hopefully, they’ll know the purpose of the item pictured here.

If you know, please send answers to Answers will appear in next week’s newspaper.

Visiting the Lincoln Area Archives Museum, located downtown at 640 5th St., is a perfect way to spend a rainy day. Museum hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays at 640 5th St.


Last week’s mystery item

BJ Holscher:  “It looks like a chicken feeder.  It prevents the chickens from scattering the feed.”

Wes Heathcock: “It looks like it would be a water dish with cover for poultry.”

Manuel Esparza Morales: “Chicken feeder.”

Susan Worthington a 30-year-resident at a Lincoln horse ranch, said, “Actually, back when I was 2 years old at my grandmother’s and grandfather’s farm in Calabasas, California in 1949, we would feed our baby chicks with this gizmo so they would not get into their food and scratch and waste their food. They can just put their heads in to eat.”

Claire Shigley: “It’s a chicken feed feeder. Peck with the beak, not scratch with the feet.”

Rachel LaForest: “I believe it is for chickens or ducks to eat out of.”

With the number of area turkey ranchers during the 20th-century and earlier, it seemed likely that several News Messenger readers would respond accurately with the answer to last week’s question.  

Museum member Bob Aitken donated the device, which he called a turkey waterer, used on the turkey ranches of his grandfather, Ralph B. Aitken, and his father, Ralph T. Aikens, in the Lincoln-Roseville area.

Commercial raising of turkeys used to be a thriving occupation here.

Raising turkeys was a large part of this area’s agriculture industry, starting in the late 1800s and moving into and through most of the 1900s.  Getting the birds to market or processing, prior to truck hauling, was done through herding the turkeys along. Turkeys would be prodded or, with small flocks, fed small amounts of grain.  With the automobile came trucks, which made the trips to market easier on humans and birds.

Turkey ranches were to the north, east, west and southwest of Lincoln.

At one time, a turkey processing plant called “the turkey shed” was on the east side of H Street between Sixth and Seventh streets.  This complex has served a number of uses at various times. It began as a cannery prior to 1906, when the cannery went out of business. In 1906, the main warehouse was a roller skating rink.  In 1907, it was used as the high school girls’ gymnasium.

The exact date of the building becoming a turkey processing plant is sometime after 1907.  Delbert Dowd was a plant manager, at one time.

A new cannery was established in 1912 and dedicated seven blocks south, beyond First Street, beside the railroad tracks.

- Carol Feineman