John Gneisenau Neihardt (1881-1973), teacher, philosopher, and Nebraska Poet Laureate, moved to Bancroft in 1900. Here he first became acquainted with Indians, married, and began his major work, A Cycle of the West, a five-part epic poem "designed to celebrate the great mood of courage that developed west of the Missouri River in the 19th Century."
The John G. Neihardt Study Restoration Project was founded in 1965 by Evelyn Vogt to preserve Neihardt's one-room study in Bancroft. In 1967 the Study Restoration Project was incorporated as the John G. Neihardt Foundation for the purpose of constructing a building to house a museum, library, and research facility to preserve Neihardt's works and effects. In 1968, by gubernatorial proclamation, the first Sunday in each August was designated Neihardt Day in Nebraska.
In 1974 State Senator Blair Richendifer of Walthill introduced in the Nebraska Legislature L.B. 855, which appropriated the "sum of two hundred thousand dollars for the purpose of constructing the John G. Neihardt Foundation. Dedicated August 1, 1976, the center was designed by the architectural firm of Clark & Enersen, Hamersky, Schlaebitz, Burroughs & Thomsen. The firm of Larson & Jipp was the prime contractor.
John G. Neihardt Foundation
Nebraska State Historical Society
In Bancroft at the Center