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Ashland Historical Society * Saline Ford Historical Preservation Society

Preserving the rich history of the Ashland NE community & area
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BEETISON Home & Mansion
Israel and Amelia (Holland) Beetison
Built in 1874-1875 - Placed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 18, 1977
 
 
The picture above; from the 1870's, showing the family, the porches, balconies & plantings in all their grandeur
 
The picture of Dwight T. & Gladys Beetison, on the left, was taken in 1983.
The Beetison family lived in the mansion until 1999
Dwight & Gladys Beetison published a story
about the family and the Beetison Mansion in 1983
With grateful acknowledgement to the Beetison family,
we reprint that story below:

THE BEETISON FAMILY

My grandfather, Israel Beetison, left home in Staley Bridge, Manchester, England in 1845.

He landed in Massachusetts and lived there before coming to Nebraska in 1858.

He met Amelia Holland of New York City. They were married May 2, 1864.

When my grandfather came to Nebraska, land was all prairie grass. He bought it from the government

when Abraham Lincoln was president, and purchased 160 acres of land for $1.50 and $2.50 an acre.

Some of this land today is in Beetison's Addition to Ashland.

Some of the grass was broken up and used for farming, the rest for grazing cattle.

My grandparents built a small frame house in southeast Ashland.

They raised eight children out of thirteen.

As the family grew, he built this limestone house in 1874-75.

All limestone used to build this house was hauled by teams and wagons from South Bend and Louisville

before any quarries were started. They took teams and scrapers to uncover this stone.

Men who built this two-story house chiseled all the stone by hand.

Walls are 18 inches thick and plastered on the inside over stone with no air space.

 

It was built when Indians were around.

Grandfather Beetison had a cupola built on top of the house for a lookout for Indians.

They would camp on the hill east of the house, would come to the house, and ask for food.

Grandma Beetison gave them homemade bread.

Grandfather Beetison drove 33 miles one way with a team and wagon

to Plattsmouth to get his grain made into flour and corn meal.

He would go one day, stay at a hotel, returning the next day. He kept his horses in a livery stable.

They were fed and taken care of. He made several trips a year. There were no mills here at that time.

The roads were only trails. Grandfather Beetison came here before railroads were built.

Beetison families have always occupied this home.

Israel left this farm to his son, William.

He lived here for 63 years, being born here, Nov. 13, 1881.

He was a farmer and livestock raiser, using horses and mules for farm power.

William Beetison left this farm and home to his son, Dwight.

I, Dwight, also am a farmer and stock raiser.

I have one sister, Margaret Beetison Bockelman.

I married Gladys Baldwin on April 4, 1935.

We moved here 34 years ago, being the third generation to live here. We have three children.

Son, Rolland, and his wife, Phyllis, have two daughters and one son.

Daughter, Sharon, and her husband, Jack White, have one son.

Son, Merlyn, and his wife, Sheri, have three sons.

We were honored in 1974 with the Pioneer Farm award

for 100 years of agriculture, and for living on the same farm.

The house is also in the Historical Register in Lincoln (NE) and Washington D.C.

We will leave this home to our youngest son. That will make the fourth generation.

Submitted by Dwight T. Beetison (circa 1983)


A HUGE thanks to AHS member, Virginia Wild
The following is from an article published July 23, 1995 in the OWH:
The OWH feature article (of July 23, 1995) reads as follows:
 
Pictured below are Merlyn Beetison, his wife Sheri & their 13 yr. old son, Colt Beetison - circa 1995
as written, 1995: "Four generations of the Beetison family
have owned & occupied the house over the past 120 years"
"Today, (Merlyn) Beetison" . . rearing the next generation
in the historic house, which sits on about 10 acres"
Merlyn Beetison, great grandson of Israel Beetison, & his family
moved into the historic Beetison Mansion, as it is known now,
in the mid-1980's, after his parents, Dwight & Gladys Beetison passed away.
Dwight & Gladys Beetison had the home placed on the
National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
As you may have read in Dwight Beetison's 1983 very personal history (shown above)
"We were very honored in 1974 with the Pioneer Family award
for 100 years of agriculture, and for living on the same farm."
 
below, is the balance of the article from OWH, July 23, 1995:
 
 
Left: the Beetison's still use three wood-burning stoves, such as this one
for a backup to the the home's electric baseboard heating.
 
 
 
RENNOVATED KITCHCHEN, shown above: The Beetisons have remodeled
the home's kitchen,restoring its original 9 foot ceilings.
 
We are truly grateful to Virginia Wild, AHS Member, for providing
a copy of this important & historical memory of the Beetison Mansion.
We also want to acknowledge and thank Chris Olson & Jeff Bundy of the
Omaha World Herald for their work on this important historical article.
 
FINALLY, we would like to thank Merlyn Beetison & his family for providing this continuing story about
the Beetison Family & the Historic Beetison Mansion, a landmark since its construction in 1874-1875.

The Beetison Family sold the property, in 1999, to Boyer-Young, an Omaha developer,
who planned & have now built the Iron Horse development and golf course.
The Lincoln Journal Star staff, and others,
wrote several articles about the development.
In order to make the development "work", B-Y negotiated
with the City of Ashland for the extension of water & sewer lines
to the high-end homes that would be a needed part of that development project.
 
With grateful acknowledgement, we are including excerpts of those articles, to the publishers;
particularly to Al J. Laukaitis of the LJS for his JUL 21, 1999 article
& to Kendra Waltke of the LJS for her JUN 10, 2007 article.
Excerpts from Mr. Laukaitas' LJS 1999 article describe the unusual alliance of the
Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs & the Nebraska State Historical Society:

 

" More than a century ago, American Indians called the locomotive an iron horse.

It was a disturbing sight: black smoke belching from a metal beast rolling across the Great Plains.

Today that same name is still causing trouble for American Indians.

But instead of a locomotive it's a $90 million luxury housing development

called Iron Horse steamrolling the east edge of Ashland. "

 

"Judi Morgan, the Indian Commission's executive director said, . . .

 

" From the maps that I've seen it looks like there . . . would be strong affiliations with the Otoe and Pawnee tribes. “

 

" A review of (NE State Historical) society records shows that

 

the Iron Horse tract includes the historic Israel Beetison House

 

and visible wagon ruts of the Ox Bow Trail, both listed in

 

the National Register of Historic Places.

The tract also is close to the Ashland site where archaeoligists have

 

found pottery shards, flint, tools and other evidence of extensive

 

American Indian  occupation dating back to 1100.

 

Burial goods attributed to the Otoe and Pawnee tribes

 

were repatriated from sites found near the Iron Horse tract "

 

 

" Developer Tim Young with Boyer-Young of Omaha said . . .

 

" I've instructed the graders that if they do run into any

 

possible bones to stop and call me immediatley. "

 

"The Iron Horse subdivision will have 265 lots and an 18 hole golf course.

Lots are selling for $40,000.00 to $110,000.00. Homes will start at $250.00.00."

 

"The subdivision is sandwiched between U. S. 6

 

and Nebraska 66 midway between Lincoln and Omaha . . ."

 

 

Regarding the preservation and restoration of the Beetison Home & Mansion

 

 

Developer Tim Young with Boyer Young of Omaha said;

 

" Young said the three-story house is in "pretty bad condition" but has been

 

included in a large lot on the preliminary plat (Phase III"), so it won't be disturbed."

 

Puschendorf (of the NE State Historical Society)

 

said of the (Beetison) house built in the Italianate style. "

 

" It would compare favorably to many of the state's finest examples of that

 

style including the Thomas P. Kennard House in Lincoln,"

 

In the article written by Kendra Waltke of the LJS for her JUN 10, 2007;

 

" . . . the home known as the Israel Beetison House

 

became part of the Iron Horse development,

 

and now upscale homes and an 18-hole golf course are nearby.

 

So someday the long wild grass growing up around it may be transformed

 

into a neat green lawn, and it may stand in a line of new homes."

 

 

 

“It will sit exactly where it needs to sit, on a platted lot.

 

We moved streets and rearranged our Phase III so it (the Beetison Mansion)

 

never needs to be moved,” said Mark Boyer of Boyer-Young, the Iron Horse developer.

 

About 60 people have expressed interest in buying it, he said.

 

An auction will be held to sell the house at some point, Boyer said.

 

In his mind, that’s the only fair way for the historic home to be sold.

 

“It’s a one-of-a-kind place,” he said. "

 

" . . . The house cannot be destroyed, moved or

 

significantly altered without the city of Ashland’s approval. "

 

The developer (Boyer-Young) made that agreement

 

when Iron Horse was platted.

(The City of Ashland NE granted platting in 1999)

 

" The auction will be held when utilities are connected to the house,

 

which will happen when work begins on Iron Horse Phase III . "

 

" That step is dependent on how fast the new homes sell ", Boyer said.

 

 

 

 

He said "the auction, when it happens, will be publicized. "

 

“We’ll let the major news outlets know,” he said.

* * * * * * * *

 

We, at AHS, are completing a very detailed history

 

 

of the Israel Beetison Home & Mansion, review portions above ;

 

The Israel Beetison Mansion & home, built in 1874-1875,

 

is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

The Israel Beetison Home & Mansion is a TRUE GEM in Ashland's history.

 

 

 

As you have read (above), certain promises & public comments were made

 

to the City of Ashland by Boyer-Young - developers

 

of the Iron Horse development & golf course,

 

during B-Y's quest for approval & platting of the project,

 

including the granting of sewer & water

 

connections to the City of Ashland.

 

Those public promises, described above, were made some 14 + years ago . .

 

and NOTHING has been done; no 'auction' or 'notice of auction' has occurred.

 

 

 

We would hope that our historical feature of this home will help motivate

 

people & donors to be sure that this home is PRESERVED & FULLY RESTORED

 

  "SAVE THE BEETISON HOME & MANSION" ! 

 

 

  We invite your comments ! 

 

 

  We would also ask for your support of this important preservation 

 


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