|Help us continue
the growth of the Museum.
Many new improvements, many historical items,
have been added to the Platte County Museum in the past few
years. We think it is now a major historical attraction (for
example, the 1857 Gottschalk log cabin is the oldest in
Nebraska). New projects are planned, for we hope to make it
even better! Have you seen the large old-time wooden windmill
that was recently erected? But these and other projects in the
future can be completed only with your help. Together, we can
preserve the history of Platte County's growth! Consider
volunteering or make a contribution!
In the beginning...
Columbus recently celebrated its 150th birthday.
Reflecting on this, we read the
words of one of the founders:
"We arrived here in the evening of May 29, 1856 and camped for
the night on the side of the
(Loup) river near Buck Island. There were thirteen in the party,
including myself....The land-
scape, as far as the eye could see, was unbroken prairie.... On
the banks of the Loup...were
many trees and during the first month we built a log
house...covering it with a roof of grass...
it served all of us as a home for several months."
"....during the first summer we broke ground and put in a
crop.... Grasshoppers came and
saved us the trouble of harvesting...we had a hard time to keep
from starving the next winter."
"....wild game was abundant... and we had plenty of fresh meat.
Deer and elk especially were
plentiful, and I have seen wild buffalo.... At one time after a
prairie fire I saw about a thousand
elk in one herd not far from Columbus."
"The day on which Columbus was born was cloudless and calm...as
I look about me and see the
great changes which have taken place I know that it was long
ago." Founder, Jacob Louis
Founders of Columbus: The people listed below represent
the original members of the Columbus Town Site Company that
founded Columbus in Platte County during the year 1856.
The original thirteen that arrived on May
J. P. Becker,Frederick Gottschalk,
Jacob Guter, John Held, Jacob Louis, Henry Lusche, Carl
Reinke, Michael Smith, John Wolfel (all born in Germany)m
Anthony Voll (born in Bavaria ), John Browner (born in
Ireland), Charles Bremer(born in Prussia), and Vincent
Kummer (born in Switzerland).
Others that joined the original 13 in
Adam Denck (born in Bavaria) and John
Rickly (born in Switzerland). And... the wife of John Wolfel
who arrived Oct. 7, 1856, Doretha Wolfel (born in Columbus,
These brave plains settlers somehow
endured, others followed, and Columbus and Platte County
Did you know
Had a Streetcar System?
Columbus Street railway System was chartered in
1889 and was in operation here for almost 25
years. There were two routes, one to the
south of the Union Pacific tracks, and one to the
north. The trolley was pulled along tracks
by a single horse. When the trolley reached
the end of the tracks, the conductor got out,
unhitched the horse, and hitched it again to the
other end of the trolley. The streetcar
company ceased operations in 1914, when Columbus
residents began to turn to "horseless
carriages" for private transportation.
Name of the First Town
in Platte County?
So were all of us the Historical Society.
But it is true, reported in all of the earliest
histories of Columbus and Platte County.
Buchanan was registered at the Nebraska Territorial
offices about a month before the founders of Columbus
returned to Omaha to complete their official
entry. Buchanan was founded about 20 miles east
of Columbus, where Shell Creek empties into the Platte
River. Although several homes are located
nearby, nothing remains of the original town site of