Step Back in Time at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park

  • The 52-room mansion at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park is the one-time home of J. Sterling Morton, who founded Arbor Day, the tree planter’s holiday, in 1872. Today, thousands of visitors from around the globe enjoy this gorgeous home and surrounding grounds.
  • Tour hosts at Arbor Lodge don period clothing for special events and weekend tours. Here, they pose in their finery on the mansion’s main staircase.
  • Inside the mansion, visitors will find countless artifacts from the Morton Family. Shown here, J. Sterling’s study, where he spent much of his time reading and writing.
  • A recent addition to Arbor Lodge State Historical Park, this tree-themed playground welcomes the youngest visitors to the park. Outdoor and sheltered picnic areas are also nearby.
  • J. Sterling Morton’s wife, Caroline, came to Nebraska as a young woman not long after their wedding vows and worked alongside her husband in planting trees on the Nebraska prairie. Shown here, Caroline’s bedroom inside Arbor Lodge.
  • A bronze statue of J. Sterling Morton stands in Monument Square at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park. It was erected in 1905 and dedicated by President Grover Cleveland.
  • Just across the drive from Monument Square is a log house built on October 22, 1890, as a memorial to the old settlers of the community by J. Sterling Morton and other members of the Old Settlers Association. It is typical of the early homes used by territorial settlers.
  • Today, Arbor Lodge is more than a historical showpiece. It also serves as a one-of-a-kind backdrop for weddings and a unique space for private dinners and parties; to inquire about private special events at Arbor Lodge, please call (402) 873-8705. Photo credit: Ottemann Photography.

Arbor Lodge State Historical Park in Nebraska City, Nebraska, is the original estate of J. Sterling Morton—the founder of Arbor Day.

It was on this property in 1872 that J. Sterling and his wife, Caroline, initiated their vision for a greener, more tree-filled world—a challenge to people everywhere to plant trees so desperately needed. It is estimated that nearly one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day, April 10, 1872.

The showpiece of this 72-acre park is the historic mansion, with its 52 rooms and countless historic artifacts belonging to the Morton Family. The park also includes an arboretum, Italian terraced garden, log cabin, carriage house, walking trails, more than 200 varieties of lilacs and a charming whispering bench.

The park grounds are open year-round; a park permit is not required to enter. The mansion is open for tours and special events under the direction of the Arbor Day Foundation.

To schedule a group tour of the mansion, call

To plan a wedding or meeting at the mansion, call

Arbor Lodge State Historical Park is managed by Arbor Day Farm and owned by the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission redirect.

Ready to explore all that Arbor Day Farm has to offer? Plan your visit today.