You don’t have to go very far. Less than 30 miles west of Omaha, no more than 10 from our digs here in Wahoo.
Linda and I were given a tour by the property owner of this retired brothel, speakeasy, gambling mecca, opera house, saloon, and underground railroad tunnel. Just the historical pedigree to end up in Run Guru Says and “Phineas Taylor.”
There is so much to absorb at the Ponderosa Saloon and Opera House. Little Weston, Nebraska, whose population has never crested 450 has a story. But let’s start with what brought us to town. A talented chef! Real chicken fried steak for Linda, Cajun Shrimp Salad for me. Both perfectly executed, inducing happiness in our pie holes.
After the meal owner Andrew graciously agreed to give us the $2 tour. The ballroom with its magnificent stage, stories to be told. The Green Room beneath the stage capable of hosting 50 thespians. And in a corner, door to the tunnel leading to the railroad, one can only imagine the tales of those that traversed the burrow a century and more ago.
Linda inquired about an abandoned staircase, query initially brushed aside. A second request yielded the heart of the matter. A deep sense of the clandestine fell upon us as we ascended the treads. The 7th step rigged with a bell, turn right at the top and greeted by a door worthy of Fort Knox. Secret knock and open sesame!
Inside, we were greeted by a magnificent 1918 Brunswick pool table. Whispers of deals between tycoons with the Omaha & Republican Valley Railroad echoed softly off the felt. Captains of Industry exercising indulgences not suitable for the common man. Where there’s money there’s vice. Whiskeys poured during prohibition, gambling tables, flapper girls, all perfectly suited to those ensconced in this cocoon of corruption.
As we approached another hidden egress Andrew encouraged us to bid adieu to the spirit/ghost/poltergeist that resides in the upper level. Recollections of eerie noises and movements giving chill to my backbone and prompting a hasty farewell.
If you’re in the mood for some good food, an afternoon in the back courtyard, or a tour of the Best Little Whorehouse in Nebraska, head to Weston and tell them Will sent you!