Kearney, Neb., June 1, 2017 – After evaluating the recent damage to the Archway’s Pawnee earth lodge, a portion of the roof of which caved in on Saturday, May 27, Archway staff will be seeking the best ways to make repairs.
Upon inspection of the damage, it was determined that one of the cottonwood logs providing support to the roof had rotted and broke in half, causing about 20% of the roof to cave in. The Archway will consult with the earth lodge’s original builders, members of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, on the repair work. The Archway will also take this opportunity to evaluate other structural elements of the earth lodge and replace timbers as needed to prolong the life of the structure.
“The original Native American earth lodges had a useful lifespan of about 7 years,” said Archway Director Eric Hellriegel. “We feel that our earth lodge is a valuable part of our educational exhibit and we hope to maintain it for as long as we can.”
The structure, which is 54 feet in diameter, was originally built in May, 2010. Traditional building materials and methods were observed. No nails, screws or adhesives were used in the construction. Beginning about 500 years ago, communities of 6 -100 earth lodges were common on the Plains. The unique architecture of the earth lodge reflects the culture and the sensibilities of the people who called it home.
Since prehistoric times, the path along the Platte River through Nebraska, once known as the Great Platter River Road, has served as a migratory route across the continent. From the Oregon Trail era to today, the Archway’s family friendly exhibit brings the story of the Great Platte River Road to life. Walk the pioneer trails. See the Pony Express. Experience the Transcontinental Railroad. Hear stories of the Lincoln Highway. Both entertaining and educational, The Archway is a must-see adventure for visitors of all ages.