Select Page

By Jon Vanderford

We recently visited the unique Nebraska tourism attraction in Minden known as “The Harold Warp Pioneer Village”, and we discovered a number of improvements are happening.

One of the renovation projects involves the Valentine diner. “This diner is being fully restored,” Pioneer Village director William Ascarza said. “We have been working on this project since March of 2023, and there’s been so much happening with it. The diner dates back to 1947. It was manufactured in Wichita. It was brought to Nebraska and served several years of operation in Kearney before it was brought to the village in 1953 by Harold Warp. It probably served the village here at least until 2019 or 2020. Then it was closed. It needed to be repaired, and there was initiative among local volunteers to make this happen. What has occurred, is that it’s been totally gutted from the inside, all of the flooring has been replaced, with all new electrical and plumbing.”

The diner has been known to serve visitors inside the village because there is a west side access point. But, with the new renovations there is going to be an east side order window where people can come and get a burger and fries if they are not visiting the village.

“People will be able to come by here and get lunch, even if they are not visiting the village,” Ascarza said. “So, we will be able to provide food to the community as well.”

Another renovation project involves the Pioneer Village carousel. “This restoration has been going on for a couple of years now,” Ascarza said. “Essentially what happened was, the animals on the carousel were in bad need of repair. These animals date back to the turn of the century, the late 19th Century or early 20th Century. The carousel itself is a late 19th Century Armitage. It had a steam engine when it was created. Since that time, the steam engine has fallen into disrepair, and it’s going to take a little more work to get that going. In the meantime, we have an electric motor that is operating it. The carousel does work. We are hoping to have it running later this summer, and it’s going to be very important to the community.”

As you look around Pioneer Village, you see a number of improvements and upgrades. The director says there’s an effort underway to get more people invested in the village through memberships. “We have levels of memberships from annual memberships, all the way to lifetime memberships,” Ascarza said. “We’ve even added an adopt-a-vehicle membership. That adds a personal touch for people, which is so important.”

In a future episode of Pure Nebraska, we are going to meet some of the artisans who volunteer at Pioneer Village and show visitors everything from blacksmithing to broom-making.

See the interview here on the 10/11 News site.

Share This