The seventh annual Old-Fashioned Spelling Bee will be held at Homestead National Monument of America’s Freeman School at 10 a.m. on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7. Spelling Bees were not only a chance for good spellers to be recognized but were also social events for homesteaders. There is no entry fee or registration, and trophies will be awarded courtesy of the Beatrice Daily Sun.

Words in the English language come from many languages just like homesteaders came from many countries. This means that many words are not spelled phonetically and makes spelling challenging. Out of this challenge was born the Spelling Bee, a common occurrence during the late 1800s in one-room schools across the country.

 “People had such a good time the last few years it is now an annual event,” said Monument Superintendent Mark Engler, “We encourage everyone to come and enjoy a day at Freeman School with an old-fashioned spelling bee.”

Words selected were in use in 1862 and many of the words will be taken from the Eclectic Spelling Book published by McGuffey’s in 1879. Contestants will be divided into five categories; under 7 years, 7 to 9, 10 to 12, 13 to 15, and over 15 to adult. Winners will receive trophies, plus the youngest and oldest speller will receive a copy of the “Eclectic Spelling Book.” The Old-Fashioned Spelling Bee will be held at Freeman School unless weather conditions require moving it to the Education Center.

The event is a partnership between the Beatrice Daily Sun and Homestead National Monument of America. Newspapers have a long history of sponsoring Spelling Bees. While spelling competitions in one-room schools were common the first Spelling Bee in United States history was held in 1925 and was sponsored by a Kentucky newspaper for nine contestants. This Bee has since expanded and is now the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C

Remember, Homestead National Monument of America has an exciting schedule of events planned for 2015. Keep up with the latest information by following us on Twitter (HomesteadNM) and Facebook (Homestead National Monument of America).

Homestead National Monument of America is a unit of the National Park Service located four miles west of Beatrice, Nebraska. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is free of charge. For additional information, please call 402-223-3514 or visit