Overalls, the undisputed, undisputed uniform of true Cornhuskers, is finally getting its due, at least in a small town in Nebraska.
Denim overalls are the star attraction of a Table Rock Historical Society exhibit. There’s an exhibit of overalls worn by local farmers, artfully displayed on a clothesline, and dozens of historic photographs of young and old wearing the iconic worker’s outfit.
The exhibition comes as The Wall Street Journal, in a May article, proclaimed that the bib overalls are part of a current fashion trend. Even my 22 year old daughter says they are a “thing” right now.
They never go out of style, according to Sharla Sitzman and Sherry Winkinhofer, two sisters who are behind the exhibition “Overalls, the Perfect Choice”. World War II Rosie the Riveter, iconic ‘American Gothic’ farmer and even adorable stud, Herbie Husker – who initially wore overalls – would tend to agree.
“If you come to the country, there are overalls everywhere. It’s not a fashion statement. It’s a very practical piece of clothing that is really comfortable,” Sitzman said.
She said her late father, Bob Sitzman, who ran a sawmill in Table Rock, rarely wore anything other than his overalls.
“We only saw Dad in costume at weddings and funerals, and he always looked uncomfortable,” Winkinhofer said. So when he went to his maker, he was buried in overalls.
The history of overalls dates back to the 1700s, when writings mentioned them as protective clothing for slaves. By the 1890s, they were mass-produced by Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis – who invented the blue jeans with metal rivets in 1873 – as essential work clothes for farmers and miners, as well as for railway workers and workers. lumberjacks.
They were called “overalls” because they were originally designed to be worn “over” ordinary clothing. The first blue jeans were called “waist overalls” because they did not have a bib.
Sitzman said she was surprised to find that her family weren’t the only ones to save pairs of overalls worn by their fathers and grandfathers.
Count me among them. I saved an old overalls from my grandfather, Harry Hammel. They had the cool green striped logo on a chest pocket: “Key Imperial, the aristocrat of the dungarees”. These overalls were a real toolbox in blue denim, with loops for a hammer and pockets for pliers and screwdrivers. Grandfather’s pocket watch was mounted in his overalls, attached by a chain to the bib.
The two sisters said the exhibition inspires visitors with a lot of memories and a lot of old stories. Dress shirts and bow ties were sometimes worn with overalls on formal occasions; a local man, who had been over-served at the local tavern, was supported by his pals using the suspenders of his overalls, tied to a clothesline.
“It makes you smile,” Sitzman said of the exhibit. “How often does the story make you smile?” “
Open days for the exhibition are scheduled for September 5 and 26. The exhibit can also be viewed by appointment by calling the Table Rock Museum at 402-839-3003.
Valentine’s Day Brick Oven Pizza
Jerry Miller and his wife, Mary, moved to Valentine in 2007 to care for souls. But now her family is also filling their stomachs at a restaurant / bulk grocery store called “The Old Mill”.
Home-made pizzas baked in a brick oven are among the specialties, and one recent Wednesday night a handful of people waited patiently for their pies as it closed. One of the favorites is the “jalapeno popper” pizza, topped with cream cheese and peppers and topped with crumbled bacon. There is also a Ruben pizza on the menu.
Local fans say it’s the fresh, filling ingredients that make the pizzas and sandwiches so good at The Old Mill. Jerry attributes his secret recipes to dough and sauce. He also makes special sandwich sauces, including sweet onion / poppy and chipotle sauces.
“We like to say our pizza is the freshest. There’s no fat and it’s healthy,” said Mary Miller.
“The average isn’t good enough,” Jerry said of his pizzas. “Having God on your side obviously helps.”
Jerry, 56, is from the Amish region of Ohio and still preaches at Door of Hope Church in Valentine. He said he and his wife were “called” to this region of north-central Nebraska after doing mission work at the nearby Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation.
He initially paid the bills by doing carpentry work, but as he got older and his hip needed replacement, he and his family opened a delicatessen / bulk store in 2014 – like the ones he was at. regular in Ohio – just off Valentine’s Main Street.
Business took off, especially for deli sandwiches, requiring a move to a larger location on Main Street. But a fire in 2018 destroyed this building, which once housed a steakhouse.
Miller said he was often invited to open his own restaurant by his family and others who ate the pizzas he made on weekends. So, after The Old Mill moved to a former movie theater in 2019, a huge brick oven was included. You can watch your pizza prepare and slip into the hot oven, just like you could at the original Valentino’s Pizzeria in North Lincoln.
The Old Mill now needs 17 employees – four times the number it opened – to meet a constant flow of customers. They range from tourists looking for a sandwich lunch for a descent of the Niobrara River to cowboys, always wearing spurs and day-long boots in the saddle.
The business grew, adding bakery and breakfast products. It also offers local produce, including jewelry made by one girl, Naomi Chellis, and hot sauces made by another girl, Rachel Coles. A third daughter, Rebekah Miller, is a mainstay of the pizza oven.
“We are very family oriented people,” said Mary Miller. “God, family, and fresh food are what’s important to us.”