• The Agate Fossil Hills where mammal fossils were excavated in the early 1900's

    Agate Fossil Beds

    National Monument Nebraska

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Attendees at 2008 Boxing Day

Attendees at the 2008 Boxing Day Open House enjoy visiting and working on the crafts.

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument News Release

December 14, 2009

For Immediate Release

Lil Mansfield, 308-436-9760


(Harrison, NE) The traditional western music of Jack Jones and Reane Pollman-Jones, known as “Boots and Saddles” is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon after the hectic holiday season. They will be playing during the eleventh annual Boxing Day Open House at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument on Saturday, December 26th, 2009 from 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Boxing Day is a fee free day at Agate Fossil Beds and refreshments will be provided by the Oregon Trail Museum Association. A large Ponderosa Pine tree and tumbleweeds have been decorated with natural and handmade items and will remain in place throughout the holidays. In addition to the refreshments and music, materials will be provided for visitors to create a handmade holiday keepsake. Visitors are encouraged to bring canned food items; these will be distributed to area food pantries.

Boxing Day, an official British public holiday, is observed in Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia on December 26th. Dorothy Meade, granddaughter of James Cook of Agate Springs Ranch, and her husband Grayson lived in Canada for a time where they adopted this holiday. During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, while living at the ranch, the Meades hosted a traditional Boxing Day gathering. They invited neighbors, relatives andspecial friendsto enjoy a relaxing afternoon with homemade wines, cheese and crackers. This afternoon of socialization brought the holiday season to a pleasant close. James Cook, a very hospitable person, opened his home (Agate Springs Ranch) to paleontologists, geologists, Native American friends and others. James Hill, Agate Superintendent says, “This event will give me a good opportunity to meet more folks from the extended Agate community.”

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument houses the Cook Collection of American Indian artifacts that were gifts from Red Cloud to the Cook family and displays about the Miocene mammal fossils found in the area. The visitor center is located three miles east of Hwy. 29; 34 miles north of Mitchell, NE or 22 miles south of Harrison, NE. The visitor center will be closed on December 25th, 2009 and January 1st, 2010; the two walking trails remain open every day from dawn to dusk.


Did You Know?

Windmill head, typically on a 10-12 foot tower.

The windmills seen in the area are still used to pump water into stock tanks for cattle to drink. Some of these wells are 250 to 300 feet deep and provide a good source of water as long as the wind blows.