- Associated Press - Saturday, November 1, 2014

MINATARE, Neb. (AP) - In the Minatare Public Library, among the paperbacks and children’s books, a group of dedicated citizens are poring over old newspapers and photographs - anything they can find that deals with the town’s history.

The group meets every Monday morning from 10 a.m. until noon. Recently, between the 11 women there they had about 1,000 years of Minatare history between them. Some of the ladies have lived in the area since as early as the 1920s, the Scottsbluff Star-Herald (http://bit.ly/1rRMWrN ) reported.

They’ve been meeting since June to come up with a way to preserve their history. They have bound books of newspapers that date back to the turn of the 20th century and they’re trying to keep them from disappearing.

“The trouble is, by the time you get interested the people who could answer the questions are dead,” said Betty Kenyon, group member.

Not only are they trying to preserve the newspapers, documents and photographs, but they’d also like to create a book of stories, photos and impressions of people who lived in the town and surrounding areas throughout the decades.

“We have things written in little pieces and books, but no complete history,” Francie Warren said.

The group plans to begin at the beginning, back when Nebraska was still just a territory, settlers were migrating west and the town was called Tabor.

Group member Juanita Baker said they have two goals. One is to preserve all the Minatare Free Press newspapers and the other is to compile a history of Minatare, the surrounding areas and the families.

The group hopes to finance the project for $1,000. The City of Minatare has agreed to pay $500 if the group can come up with the rest. The next step is to secure a grant or collect enough in donations.

They are also looking for a large-size scanner to handle the old broadsheet newspapers.

“There are a lot of things people can do to help us preserve the history,” Warren said.

Anyone interested in offering their family story or helping out with the project can contact Francie Parker Warren at 308-631-8426 or email her at minatare1887@gmail.com.

“It’s been such an interesting journey,” Warren said.

Group members would be willing to interview people with a connection to Minatare that aren’t interested in writing their own stories.

“We’re glad to talk to people and help them,” Warren said.

The group has set a deadline for the project of April 30, 2015.

Baker referenced a Mari Sandoz quote: “There is a saying among the Sioux. A people without a history is like wind upon buffalo grass.”

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Information from: Star-Herald, http://www.starherald.com

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