Red Cloud Review: 2022 Highlights

Red Cloud Review: 2022 Highlights

December 27, 2022

2022 was a busy year in Red Cloud with lots of change happening and plans for future changes being made. While we do not have enough space to adequately honor every achievement and everything that happened this year, we do want to take some time to recognize some major events and personal accomplishments as wind out the clock on another great year in the best small town in America. 

The Heritage Tourism Development picks for the Top 10 stories of 2022 are: 1) The Hotel Garber Groundbreaking Ceremony, 2) Abundant Life Honey wins Business of the Year, 3) Red Cloud Street Car Days, 4) The Willa Cather Childhood Home Restoration, 5) New Red Cloud Welcome Signs, 6) Red Cloud Football, 7) Digitization of the Sid Tobler Photo Collection, 8) Tom & Linda Hitchler named Volunteers of the Year by the Chamber, 9) the Red Cloud Community Fund raises $26,400 for community causes, and 10) Brooks Armstrong collects his 100th wrestling victory. 

Other highlights for 2022 include but are not limited to: a visit from Senator Deb Fischer, Red Cloud's Energizing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems (E3) efforts, the Chamber's 14th annual Shopping Extravaganza, community conversations about Downtown Revitalization and downtown road improvements, the 67th Spring Willa Cather Conference featuring Maureen Corrigan, the completion of the first phase of the Red Cloud recreation trail connecting the elementary school to The Valley Child Development Center, Back Alley Bicycles winning the inaugural Heritage Tourism Christmas Decoration contest, and a great season of Opera House shows unencumbered by COVID restrictions. 

Our list would also be incomplete without recognizing small business and building development in the community. This year was even busier than usual with Conway Insurance making awesome renovations to the former Cather headquarters building at 326 N. Webster and relocating their business there, Twisted Petal 2 completing its first full year in the community, Red Cloud Athletic Club opening and giving the community a high quality gym and workout facility, Back Alley Bicycles opening and giving the community a place to rent recreation gear and awesome locally produced gifts, 345 Lodging giving visitors a great option to experience the community while staying in the heart of downtown, The Gathering Place reviving the Elm Street Center, Kenny's Hardware & Home Center owners and Physical and Speech Therapists Matt & Casey Kenny giving Red Cloud a truly one of a kind, high quality business with Integrity Rehab, the Mark Dahle Art Gallery filling the void that would have been left behind by Shades West, and the restoration of Dennis & Sally Hansen's buildings on the northeast corner of 4th & Webster. The frame for the north building was put up right at the end of the year and is an exciting portent of great things to come at what will surely be one of the most beautiful small town highway intersections in Nebraska and the United States. 


Here's a rundown of some of the major events that happened in Red Cloud in 2022. We apologize in advance for those that we left out or overlooked. While we don't adhere to these guidelines completely, for the most part these events are related to Heritage Tourism Development in some way. 


  • Abundant Life Honey recognized as the 2021 Business of the Year, in large part due to Brad and Andrea Frey's starting or accomodating several businesses at "Frey's Corner" (4th & Cedar)
  • Tom & Linda Hitchler as the Volunteers of the Year at the 72nd Farmers & Merchants Banquet



  • Conway Insurance relocated to and restore 326 N. Webster
  • "Crossroads: Change in Rural America" Smithsonian Exhibit on display at the Red Cloud Opera House Art Gallery
  • Webster County Historical Museum and the National Willa Cather Center digitize the Sid Tobler collection of photos. These photos capture life in the Red Cloud business community from the 1950s through the 1970s and are now permanently available for public viewing at the County Museum. 


  • New Welcome Signs Installed at Red Cloud entry points
  • Red Cloud Community Schools Graduates Class of 2021
  • 67th Annual Alumni Weekend & Banquet
  • Red Cloud Community Fund Celebration at the Starke Round Barn
  • RC Community Fund Color Run 5K 


  • 67th Spring Willa Cather Conference featuring Maureen Corrigan
  • First phase of the Red Cloud Recreation Trail is completed between the RC Elementary School and the football practice field, safely connecting the school to The Valley Child Development Center
  • Conway Insurance Golf Tournament
  • Webster County Community Hospital Golf Tournament


  • Red Cloud Athletic Club Opens
  • Bud/Republican Valley Golf Tournament
  • Cowles Legion Republican River Stock Tank Float 
  • Webster County Fair 


  • The Chamber puts together one of the best Street Car Days yet which included a performance from Shooter Jaxx at the gazebo in the Red Cloud City park, another great parade, the annual Lions' Club Pancake breakfast at the airport, the RC Community Fund's 5K the Warrior Way, and tons of fun things for families to do throughout the weekend.
  • The Willa Cather Foundation announces that the Cather Childhood Home would be closed for at least a year. The reason? A complete and long overdue restoration of the home that is the centerpiece of the Willa Cather and Red Cloud Heritage Tourism experience!  In May, the Red Cloud welcome signs got a much needed update, including a nod to the community's most famous former resident. 
  • Missoula Children's Theatre
  • 345 Lodging Opens
  • RC Athletic Association Road Rally


  • The Red Cloud Community Fund raises >$26K for community projects, including $16,500 for Heritage Tourism Development
  • Integrity Rehab Opens
  • RC Community Schools Homecoming
  • Public presentations for Downtown Revitalization and Downtown Road/Infrastructure Improvement, including discussion on replacing the outdated brick streets. 
  • Hometown Market Golf Tournament


  • Over 100 people attend the Hotel Garber Groundbreaking Ceremony. The Red Cloud Hotel, LLC and its partners have raised $6.3 million for this project to date and gave the official Notice to Proceed to Tru-Built Construction just last week. Expect to see more activity at the site soon. There's still time to contribute to the project and naming rights available. Donations of $1000 or more will be recognized on a donor wall display in the Hotel Garber.
  • Tom & Linda Hitchler's 50th Wedding Anniversary!  
  • Senator Deb Fischer visits and gets a tour of Heritage Tourism sites
  • The Gathering Place opens at the former Elm Street Center location


  • Red Cloud High School football team dazzled the community with one of the best teams to take the field in the school's history. This year's team finished 8-2, falling to Parkview Christian out of Lincoln in the 2nd round of the D-6 playoffs in November. Ben Ely, Brooks Armstrong, Caden Frey, Caden Trew, Sam Dilley, and Malaki Shriner-Horne received all-state or all district recognition from a variety of organizations. Armstrong, Shriner-Horne, Avery Fangmeyer, and Marissa Hersh received Academic All-State honors from the Nebraska School Activities Association. 
  • Grand Opening of Back Alley Bicycles
  • Grand Opening of the Mark Dahle Art Gallery
  • Twisted Petal 2 completes its first year of business, begins offering breakfast items and offers Saturday hours
  • Red Cloud vibes up during the 14th Annual Shopping Extravaganza, organized by the Red Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce
  • The Red Cloud Creative District is approved to create a strategic plan for (we hope) eventual designation as a Nebraska Creative District by the Nebraska Arts Council


  • Wood frame goes up at Hansen's building (originally the Cook Drugstore, formerly the home of Red Cloud Signs/Video Rentals)
  • Back Alley Bicycles wins inaugural downtown and small business decoring contest, organized by RC Heritage Tourism Development
  • Brooks Armstrong collects his 100th wrestling victory for the RC/Blue Hill Warcats
  • The Red Cloud Opera House completes a successful season of shows featuring Paramount, Indigenous and others.
  • Santa visits the Webster County Community Hospital
  • The Red Cloud Hotel, LLC gives Notice to Proceed to Tru-Built Construction to begin principal construction on Hotel Garber!!!