25 Cents Worth of Nebraska History

American-coinsIf you’re anywhere near Beatrice, Nebraska or the surrounding area, you most likely have heard about the hoopla surrounding the creation of a new quarter: The Homestead, the first of 2015 and the 26th overall in the United States Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters program.

Last week, The Homestead joined the ranks of Yellowstone National Park, The Grand Canyon National Park, and Glacier National Park as a notable historical location, worthy of being stamped on currency.

The Homestead National Monument of America, four miles west of Beatrice, stands on a site that includes some of the first acres under the Homestead Act passed in 1862. This monumental act allowed any qualified person to claim federally owned land in exchange for five years of residence and the cultivation and improvement of the property. In terms of populating the West and creating states like Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming, these first acres were instrumental to American history.

So, late last week, there was standing room only at the Education Center of the Homestead National Monument, said the Nebraska Radio Network. From Beatrice residents to coin collectors and National Park Service personnel, quite a crowd gathered to learn from David Croft, associate director of manufacturing for the U.S. Mint. Croft works out of the Mint location in Denver, and travels across the country to participate in these quarter launches. Later this year, he’ll travel to Louisiana, North Carolina, Delaware, and New York to launch their quarters (Iowa will launch in 2015.) “This new quarter now stands as a tribute to the strength and tenacity of the settlers who braved harsh conditions to build the American West,” Croft said at the event.

The United States Mint might not be what comes to mind right away when you think of manufacturing, but nonetheless, this part of the Department of the Treasury is the sole manufacturer of legal coinage, as well as circulating this currency to support commerce. In addition to the everyday pennies and nickels we use, they are responsible for producing Congressional Gold Medals and commemorative coins, like the one released for Nebraska. Each year until 2020, the Mint will continue to release five new quarters for national sites, issued in order of when the sites were established. The last coin will be released in 2021, so coin collectors and aficionados will have to wait until then to gather all 56 of the coins that will be issued!

And in terms of both currency and manufacturing, the idea of programs revolving around manufacturing and the U.S. Mint are worth looking into for those who have interests in commerce or business. If you missed out on this special event right here in Nebraska as an opportunity to learn about manufacturing, check out the live updates on Twitter from the United States Mint at @usmint! Questions? Comments? Feel free to leave them in the section below!

photo credit: American coins (also a jigsaw puzzle ) via photopin (license)