Herboldsheimer, Daniel & Sarah, Ranch - United States Department of the Interior National Park Service National Register of Historic Places
Name of Property
Herboldsheimer, Daniel & Sarah, Ranch
street & number city, town-
Potter, Nebraska, NE, county Chevenne, zip code 69156
Number of Resources within Property
2 buildings, sites
6, structures objects
Describe present and historic physical appearance.
The Daniel and Sarah Herboldsheimer Ranch, located in Cheyenne
County, represents an excellent example of an early Nebraska ranch
utilizing stone building material and technology in the High Plains
region of the state. The ranch still retains the majority of
representative buildings and structures used in the stock raising
and wheat growing operations of the Herboldsheimer family beginning
in the 1880's. The ranch includes two dwellings, the c. 1905
limestone house, and the c. 1888-1900 log and limestone house.
The large stone barn is situated east of the main dwelling and the
remaining outbuildings are arranged in an ell-shaped manner. The
property also includes a stone corral built by Herboldsheimer in
1900. The nomination consists of eight contributing resources:
six buildings, one structure, and one object; and eight noncontributing
resources: two buildings and six structures.
Structural and historical integrity is uniformly high for all
The property continues to be occupied and
operated for agricultural purposes.
The Herboldsheimer Ranch is located approximately nine miles
northeast of Potter, a small town (1989 population: 369) in
Cheyenne County. Cheyenne County is located in the High Plains
region in the extreme western part of Nebraska, which geographically
supports grain and livestock production. The region is
characterized by flat-lying land which is composed of sandstone of
stream-deposited silt, sand, clay and gravel overlain with loess.
Native vegetation is Buffalo grass (short grass) prairie.
Lodgepole Creek and the South Platte River transect the region from
west to east. Cheyenne County, one of the largest counties in the
state, boasted a huge cattle industry for many years until it
experienced a collapse of that business in favor of wheat farming.
The Herboldsheimer Ranch is a striking assemblage of late
nineteenth and early twentieth century agricultural architecture,
noted for its use of limestone in the construction of the majority
of buildings in the ranch group.
The ranch is a relatively compact group of buildings efficiently
arranged in an ell-shaped manner. Located north of the
public road and oriented south and east, the ranch is divided into
domestic and agricultural areas by a lane which runs north-south.
The domestic functions are located west of the lane, and to the
south is the front yard. Agricultural storage and animal facility
areas are situated east of the lane in a north-to-south pattern,
with the stone milk house serving as the north terminus and the
large stone barn serving as the major south terminus. The
waterworks area, directly east of the lane, originally included the
reservoir, windmill, and well (see site plan). Only the well
remains today. Landscape features on the property include only a
small number of deciduous trees along the lane (see site plan), and
shrub plantings around the main dwelling.
The main ranch group is situated on the original 160 acre
homestead obtained by Daniel Herboldsheimer in September 1888 from
the Union Pacific Railway Company.
This nomination comprises a
four acre tract of land that contains all of the representative
buildings and structures in the ranch complex. Because the
property is being submitted under Criterion "C", only that parcel
of land that contains the architecturally significant resources is
being nominated. The inventory of principal buildings, structures
and objects follows, beginning with those resources that contribute,
and followed by those that do not, with their numbers
corresponding to the accompanying site plan.
1. Stone house (photos 1, 4, 5) built c. 1905, one story with
loft, square, 11 x 11.5 meters (36' x 37'G"), native limestone,
rock faced ashlar, wood shingled truncated hip roof with gabled
wall dormers, cellar, double hung windows with one-over-one pane
arrangement, stone lintel hoods and lugsills, porch addition on
east facade, main level consists of four rooms, loft contains four
rooms, presently serves as main dwelling house.
2. Log and stone house (photos 1, 2, 3) built c. 1888-1900, one
story, rectangular, 9 x 12.5 meters (29'6" x 41'), wood shingle
gable roof with rear shed addition, house built in various
construction stages, original dwelling hewn log with chinks, one-half dovetail notching (c. 1888), with second construction
episode utilizing smooth-faced rubble stone, single-pen addition,
east side of log (1895), date stone inscribed with "HA 1895 R9" is
set above main entry door, and third construction episode utilizing
rock-faced ashlar stone wrap-around addition, three room, shed wing
and west gable extension (c.1900), square window openings on all
facades, frame window surrounds, stone lintels, additional entry
on east facade, house converted to carriage shed after 1905 stone
house built, now used for agricultural storage.
3. Stone barn (photos 6, 7, 8) built 1898, rectangular, 10 x 20
meters (32'9" x 65'6"), native limestone, smooth ashlar walls,
present wood shingle gambrel roof rebuilt in 1921 with frame
cupola, one-story extension built c. 1921, square, 8.5 x 8.5 meters
(27'9" x 27'9"), west smooth-faced rubble stone wall originally
part of the stone corral, stuccoed, east and south walls frame,
wood shingle gable roof.
4. Stone milk house (photos 1, 6, 10) built 1888, one-story,
rectangular, 3.5 x 4 meters (11'6" x 13'), native limestone, north
wall is rubble stone, east, south, west walls are smooth ashlar,
wood shingle gable roof with stepped parapet wall on south facade,
5. Stone granary (photos 1, 6, 7, 9) built c. 1900, one-story,
square, 4x4 meters (13' x 13'), native limestone, rock-faced
ashlar, wood shingle gable roof with parapet walls.
6. Chicken house (photos 1, 11) built c. 1920, frame, rectangular,
3x5 meters (9'9" x 16'4"), shed roof.
7. Stone corral (photos 1, 6, 9, 12, 13) built 1900, native
limestone, smooth-faced rubble stone, walls approximately 2' thick,
8' high, wooden gate, loading chute. Stone hitching post (photo 3), built 1890's, limestone.
Non-Contributing Buildings and Structures
9. Machine shed (photo 11, background) large metal quonset
10-15. Granaries (photos 1, 3, 4, 6, 12) contemporary metal
16. Shed (photos 1 , 4) small frame storage building, rectangular
plan, gable roof.
The Herboldsheimer's first house was constructed of sod (no
longer extant). The majority of stone buildings originally
utilized pole and sod material for roof construction. In 1898,
Herboldsheimer excavated a reservoir eight feet deep and lined it
with the limestone. Originally located west of the windmill (see
site plan), the stone walls were demolished and the reservoir was
filled in around 1946. Building remnants of a farrowing house (see
site plan) are included on the property, but are not counted in
this nomination due to loss of integrity.
Integrity is uniformly high for all contributing buildings and
structures. Although minor modifications have been made to the
dwellings, especially in the interior spaces, structural and
historical integrity of the ranch complex, as a whole, is preserved
The property, although no longer occupied by descendents of
the Herboldsheimers, continues to be occupied and operated for
Period of Significance Significant Dates
Significant Person Architect/Builder
The Daniel and Sarah Herboldsheimer Ranch is architecturally
significant (Criterion "C") on a state-wide level, as a well preserved
example of an early Nebraska ranch. The property is
important for its associations with folk building traditions in
that it reflects the availability of materials and technology
utilized by an early settler in the establishment and development
of a ranch in the High Plains region of western Nebraska.
Herboldsheimer, the son of German immigrants, utilized locally
available materials, namely stone, to construct the majority of
buildings in the ranch complex. The period of significance is
derived from the original construction date of the earliest ranch
building (1888), through significant later additions (1921),
inclusive of all construction dates for contributing ranch
buildings and structures.
Daniel Herboldsheimer, son of German immigrants Barthalamews
Sabastian Herboldsheimer and Barbara Pfieghardt Herboldshiemer, was
born in Cookstown, Pennsylvania on November 2, 1857. Daniel was
known to family and friends as Dan Heimer, using his full name only
on legal transactions. His family later moved to Guttenburg, Iowa.
In 1878, Herboldsheimer homesteaded near Kenesaw, west of Hastings,
Nebraska and married Sarah Alice Segraves on January 1, 1880.
September 1888 Herboldsheimer purchased a quarter section of land
northeast of Potter in Cheyenne County from the Union Pacific
Railway Company for the sum of $402.00. The 1900 census listed his
occupation as a farmer. According to local histories, he raised
livestock in the early years of the ranch operation, but later
turned to wheat growing. Herboldsheimer died November 27, 1945 and
was buried in the Potter cemetery.
Major Bibliographical References-
Cook, A.S., "Heimer of Nebraska Built for the Years", The Western Farm Life,
Mrs. Wesley, Danial Herboldsheimer Ranch, Nebraska Historic
Buildings Survey Form, September, 1984, on File, Nebraska State Historical
Society, Lincoln, NE
Mathewson, Kate, "Daniel Herboldsheimer Family",
History of Cheyenne County
Nebraska 1986, Cheyenne County History Book Committee, Curtis'Media'
Corporation, Copyright 1987.
McAlester, Virginia & Lee, A Field Guide to American Houses, Alfred A. Knopf,
Inc., New York, Copyright 1984.
Acreage of property, 4 acres-
The property is described as a square tract.of land commencing at a point at the
extreme southwest corner of the southwest quarter of Section 7, Township 15 North,
Range 51 West, thence running North 417.5 feet, thence east 417.5 feet, thence
south 417.5 feet, thence west 417.5 to the point of beginning, a rural legal
description in Cheyenne County, Nebraska.
Because of the scarcity of timber in "treeless" counties such
as Cheyenne, the most readily available construction material was
sod. Its use was widespread by early settlers who set up homesteads
on the prairie lands, and needed basic shelter. As families
became better established, some of them desired more substantial
dwelling houses constructed of permanent materials, such as log or
stone. Limestone outcroppings, located along Lodgepole Creek and
its tributaries, provided a source of building material and found
favor with settlers in Cheyenne County.
The Herboldsheimer ranch house illustrates the chronology of
this housing pattern: their first home, a soddy, was replaced
following construction of the log dwelling (c. 1888). That same
year, Herboldsheimer began building with the locally available
limestone. The closest source was over five miles south at Point
of Rocks, so the burdensome task of quarrying and hauling the stone
was necessary before he could begin construction. The stone was
also used in later additions to the log dwelling and in construction
of the main dwelling house. Stone was also used in constructing
the barn, most of the outbuildings, and the corral.
Architecturally significant, the Herboldsheimer Ranch
represents an excellent example of a Nebraska ranch, retaining the
majority of buildings used in the stock raising and wheat farming
operations of the Herboldsheimer family beginning in the 1880's.
The ranch buildings are important for their associations with folk
building traditions. Herboldsheimer, the son of German immigrants,
utilized his own masonry skills and readily available materials,
namely limestone, to construct his buildings. The most notable
building on the ranch is the one-story log and stone dwelling. The
house was built in various construction stages.
The original house
was log (c. 1888), with later construction episodes utilizing
smooth-faced rubble stone (1895) and rock-faced ashlar stone (c.
In Nebraska the house stands as an important product of folk
architecture. These folk houses were strongly influenced by
geography, and constructed of materials found in the proximity of
the building site. In many cases, the native materials were quarried and prepared by the builders themselves. Because of the
availability of building materials from one locale to another, as
well as building traditions settlers brought with them, the
structure and form of these folk houses varies from region to
region (McAlester, 1984, p. 63). The Herboldsheimer house remains
today as a product of folk building traditions in Nebraska; it
reflects the availability of native limestone as building material
in the High Plains region, and illustrates the building skills used
by an early settler in the preparation and treatment of the stone.
The 1984 Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey (NEHBS) of
Cheyenne County identified five similar ranch properties which
utilized stone construction for the majority of buildings. They
include the Gunderson Homestead (NEHBS # CN00-5), the William
Kidney Homestead (CN00-13), the F.W.'Krueger, Jr. Ranch (CN00-31),
the Adams Ranch (CN00-32), and the Herboldsheimer Ranch. For the
most part, stone construction was found in the valley area along
the major stream, Lodgepole Creek, which runs east-west through the
county. At the time of the survey, the integrity of these ranch
groupings, for the most part, was poor, with many buildings
abandoned and in deteriorated condition.
The Herboldsheimer Ranch
exhibits a high degree of integrity and in comparison to other
surveyed ranch properties, contains a concentration of stone
buildings and structures in its agricultural group.
On a regional level, the Herboldsheimer property represents
one of the best examples of a stone ranch complex. Cheyenne
county, in comparison to other counties in the High Plains region,
contains a large number of agricultural complexes utilizing stone
construction for the majority of buildings. Although stone
construction was identified in other counties, these properties
were generally cases in which only single stone buildings were
recorded, either as part of a larger ranch complex or as the only
surviving structure of a rural grouping. The Herboldsheimer ranch
gains further importance due to the survival of the stone corral.
Constructed of smooth-faced rubblestone, the corral represents an
excellent example of a stone wall system found in a ranch complex.
Although remnants of stone corrals have been identified through the
NEHBS, none compare to the nature and condition of the Herboldsheimer
To date., twelve Nebraska farms or ranches have been listed in
the National Register: the Thomas Majors Farmstead (NEHBS #NH09~
10), the Retzlaff Farmstead (LC00-22), the Peter Peterson Farmstead
(LC00-21) and the Kehlbeck Farmstead (CC00-36), all located in the
Southeast Region of the state; the Knoell-Bang Farmstead (DD00-50)
and the Zavadil Farmstead (CD00-9), Northeast region; the Jeffery
Farmstead (YK00-2), and the Pisar Farmstead (SA00-3), Central
Plains region; the George Gather Farmstead (WT00-13) and the
Pavelka Farmstead (WT00-104), Republican Valley region, the VJarner
Ranch (BN00-29), Scotts Bluff region; and the Spade Ranch (SH00-
30), Pine Ridge region.
The Herboldsheimer Ranch is the first
agricultural property to be nominated in the High Plans region of
Today, the property represents an important Nebraska ranch
type in that it reflects the availability of materials and
technology utilized by an early settler in the establishment and
development of a ranch in the High Plains region of western
Nebraska. The ranch type is associated with the agricultural
context: High Plains Cash Grain and Livestock Production.
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