About Nebraska...Our Towns
Nebraska, like its name, is unique! It is "one of a
kind" in many ways, from its distinctive shape, diverse weather, and varied terrain,
to its own brand of politics, either very conservative or surprisingly progressive.
Nebraska, is more than a strange-sounding name, borrowed from the Indian language. To many
people - whether in the house their grandfather built way-back-when, or a sunny retirement
villa down south Nebraska is "that special place," they think of as
"home." Nebraska...Our Towns, compiles into one series the stories and
pictures of all our towns in the hope it will help to document and preserve some of
our rich heritage.
Many communities, established during the great railroad
expansion of the late 1800s and early 1900s, are currently collecting information about
their beginnings in preparation for their centennial milestone. What an opportune time to
gather into one capsuled account the stories of our many towns and include the list
of other publications and books currently available for further research and study.
Initially billed as a pictorial history, to capture in words and pictures the images of
Nebraska's towns and to contrast that image with the past, Nebraska...Our Towns has
actually become much more. With the stories of the towns compiled by counties within a
specific area, the history of railroads, churches, education, local and state government
All Nebraska towns have been invited to participate in this project. Towns that survived their organizational years, droughts, panic, floods, fires, tornados, the coming and going of railroads, wars, and all the economic ups and downs should be recognized and honored! Dr. Robert Manley, senior historian referring to the ebb and flow of a community from its early days to the present, says, "...Understanding this is the key to the survival and renewing of a town."
Explorations into the New Territory...
The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 was not heralded by everyone as the best investment ever made. Lewis and Clark were sent to chart and name the newly acquired lands. (1803-06). While they did not find a water route across the continent to the Pacific, they demonstrated the feasibility of an overland route. Not venturing too far from the rivers, their reports provided the first information about the vast region beyond the Missouri including the beauty they saw.
The S. H. Long Exploration in 1819-20 reported a more negative view of the territory. His maps not only completely missed the vast Blue River watershed, but gave the area south of the Platte River the title, "The Great American Desert." Charting various Indian villages along the Missouri, Platte, and Loup rivers, he then added, "...the Great Desert is frequented by roving bands of Indians who have no place of residence but roam from place to place in search of game." His impressions, and those of many people who crossed the Nebraska Territory on their way to "the Promised Land" in California, Colorado, or Oregon, did much to discourage settlement in this area for several more decades, thinking it to be "almost wholly unfit for cultivation."