Photo Collection
Contact Us

Museum News
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 29, 1856

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 July 1856:

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, Ohio).

These brave plains settlers somehow endured, others followed, and Columbus and Platte County prospered.

Did you know Columbus Once
Had a Streetcar System?

The 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?

Surprised?  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 Buchanan.

Back to Top Home  |  Displays  |  Calendar  |  Membership  |  Opportunities  |  Newsletter  |  Links  |  Contact Us