The final scene in Willa Cather's last novel, Sapphira and the Slave Girl (1940), takes place in this brick house, Cather's home for the first nine years of her life. Willow Shade was constructed by her grandfather William Cather shortly after he purchased the property in 1851. Cather and her family lived here until 1882, when they moved to Red Cloud, Nebraska. The two-story house over a raised basement is still surrounded by the willow trees for which it was named. With its nearly flat roof, corbeled brick eaves, double-end chimneys, and one-bay Doric porch with coupled columns, Willow Shade is a local interpretation of Greek Revival. At the rear, the two-story brick service ell was also constructed in 1851.
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