Could Capital Punishment’s Relics ‘Spark’ Tourism?


A small Nebraska town looking to jolt its tourism believes it has found an answer: the electric chair.

Nebraska’s supreme court struck down the method of execution in the state last year, finding it to violate the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. No one’s been executed in the state since 1997, but little McCook, population 8,000, believes the chair still has a place — in a museum, according to the Associated Press.

The chair sits at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, more than 200 miles from McCook in Lincoln. In its day, it electrocuted 15 people after replacing hanging in 1913. Now, Nebraska is trying to pass a bill to allow lethal injection.

But here’s the best part of the story.

The chair would go inside a to-be-built museum honoring George Norris, a Nebraska U.S. senator from 1913 until 1943. Norris helped write the Rural Electrification Act, which brought electricity to much of rural America.

The chair would fit into the museum, its organizers believe, as it’s one such use electricity.

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