Nebraskaland May 2019

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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Page 45 of 63

46 Nebraskaland • May 2019 guess there ain't any end to Omaha," wrote 17-year-old Frisby Rasp in a letter to his parents in 1888. "You can walk till you are tired out in any direction you choose, and the houses are as thick as ever …" Rasp grew up on his parents' farm in southwest Polk County, Nebraska, the oldest of six children. Now he enrolled in the Omaha Business College at 16th and Capitol streets. He paid $40 for tuition, and one of his teachers helped him fi nd a boarding house. For the fi rst time in his life, he was on his own in a big city. "Big city" is relative. That year's Omaha City Directory claimed a population of 125,000, a huge (and probably exaggerated) jump over the 30,000 counted in the 1880 census. But it seemed big enough to Frisby. Even the post offi ce on the northeast corner of 15th and Capitol was enormous, "a large three story stone [building]. It covers half a block. They receive over a carload of mail every day." He was writing on May 6, one day after he arrived. In his May 7 letter he reminded his family that "I haven't got any letters yet," but hoped there would be one waiting for him at the big post offi ce. He admitted he'd been "feeling pretty lonely." Two days later he complained, "I haven't heard from you yet; you must be dead. I ain't a going to mail this until I "I Looking east along Farnam Street, Omaha, 1889. History Nebraska RG2341-28 h i ' d O h " 17 ld d) j h 30 000 d i h 1880 A Farm Boy Comes to

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