Claude A. Barr (1887-1982) was a South Dakota cattle rancher who attained international acclaim as an eminent plantsman of the plains. Through his Prairie Gem Ranch, he supplied Great Plains seeds, plants, and information to the scientific and gardening world for many years. His achievements inspired the formation of the Great Plains Native Plant Society in 1984.
Barr’s life work is depicted in his posthumously published book Jewels of the Plains. This book is still the definitive work on plains wildflowers and their cultivation. With original photographs, the hardback edition of Jewels of the Plains is now out of print. The copies that can be found are the prized possessions of gardeners around the world.
A small exhibit on Barr and his life and work are located on the main floor of the Sandoz Center. Through the support of Chadron State College, the High Plains Herbarium, and the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, the Center is home to the Claude Barr Garden. Featuring a sample of the plants that Barr wrote about in Jewels of the Plains, the Gardens are located on the east side of the Center. They are open to public.
For more information Claude Barr and the botanical history of the region, please visit the Chadron State College Herbarium.