This is a do-it-yourself tour around the area in which Jules Sandoz lived and references that are made in some of Mari Sandoz's literature. The tours may be taken at any time, weather permitting. A more detailed guide book can be obtained at the Mari Sandoz Room in downtown Gordon and escorted tours are also available.
The tour begins at the Mari Sandoz Room at 117 North Main Street. The Room features history and family memoriablia about Mari Sandoz, with a vast amount of information available to read. Copies of any of the material in the reading room can be made on the premises. Mari Sandoz books and tourist information are also available at this location. Some other books and material about the area are for sale.
First Stop - Walgren Lake State Rec. Area turn south on hiway 20 2 miles east of Hay Springs - scene of "Ossie and the Sea Monster" by Mari Sandoz (ref. Old Jules, p142)
Second Stop: Sacred Heart Catholic Church (continuing south from Walgren Lake) land donated by Old Jules, not in religious ferver, but because the priest was a stamp collector and an Ďadmirer of the Caesars', therefore an interesting visitor. (Ref Old Jules p 114)
Third Stop: Well Site just south of the church at the bottom of the hill "Near the top the frayed rope broke and (Jules) plunged sixty-five feet to the bottom, his foot doubled under him... (ref Old Jules, p 44)
Just south of the well site is the school house where Mari and her sibling attended classes.
Fourth Stop: Sandoz River Place follow the road directly east from the well site marker, then left just past the bridge. First homestead of Old Jules.
First Stop: Swiss Beguin Cemetery continue east for _ miles from the river. Several Sandoz relatives buried here, along with Jules' brother Ernie who was killed by a hired gun in 1908 in the conflict between cattlemen and settlers.
Sixth Stop: Smith Lake State Rec Area. Turn south when your gravel road leads to the Hiway. Beautiful sandhills lake with camping and picnic facilities, wildlife watching. Good place to stop for a picnic lunch.
Seventh Stop: Mari Sandoz Historical Marker - You have crossed the 13 miles to Hiway 27. Turn south and proceed for _ miles.
Eighth Stop: Mari's Grave Site and The Sandhill Place - Enter the road just 1/4 miles north of the historical marker at the Orchard sign. Proceed to the Mari Sandoz sign and go 1 mile to the windmill, turn left to the grave, right to the Sandhills Home.
This was a Kinkaid Act claim. Thirteen year old Mari and her younger brother were taken there to live in a tiny shack to establish the claim. (ref. Old Jules, p 350)
"It had always been that the dead returned to the earth which fed them, as the flower returned, and the tree and the buffalo and all living things go back." (ref. The Buffalo Hunters, p 361)
The gravesite of Mari Sandoz is open to tourists at all times. Old Jules' Home in the Sandhills (Shuttered Windows) and Orchards may be seen from the outside, or contact 308-327-2560 for further access.
Come visit us in Gordon, Nebraska