could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

                              Four Stories from the Past

Story #1 – The Frog Pond on Railroad Avenue

(Remember, none of the streets in Kearney were paved until after 1900.)

Sep 12, 1923 – Frog Pond Nothing New to Old Timers
From the Daily Nebraskan Times, May 14, 1874 –

[This was three years after the Collins family arrived; two years after the junction was completed. ]

People in Kearney were complaining about the low spots on Railroad Street near the depot and the poor drainage. They wished the city councilmen would do something about the frog pond.

They realize we want an economical government but the mud holes do not present a good impression on first time visitors who leave here with the impression we live in a swamp.

There was also a slough or swamp along Wyoming (Central) Avenue and between two business buildings.

If the city did not want to spend the money, it was suggested men who are working off their poll tax could work on these spots instead of being taken a few miles out of town to work on the roads leading into town.

Also a couple of plow furrows going east from Wyoming could drain that area.

Story #2 – Kearney Boom Period Property Values

Nov. 7, 1889 – An Imposing Edifice

In 1875 a small store sat on a corner on Wyoming (Central) Avenue, a meat market.

That lot and the one adjoining had been purchased by a man named Walker, from the UP for $450.  Walker operated a ferry across the Platte since there was no bridge yet.

Walker died and businessman H. C. Andrews purchased the two lots from the estate for $25.

With times so hard with the grasshoppers and people moving out of the county, the $25 was considered the value of the store with the lots thrown in.

14 years later in 1889 Kearney was in its Boom Period. Andrews had four different offers for those lots for $20,000 which he refused.

Instead he built the 3-story bank building at the cost of $81,000 on the southeast corner of 21st & Central

Story #3 - Fred from Pleasanton

March 3, 1899 - Pleasanton – Fred ____, who has been visiting with relatives in Kansas, has returned after an absence of about two months. Some of the young ladies are wearing broad smiles since Fred has returned.

Whatever happened to Fred?

A year later one young lady in particular was smiling because on March 7 Anna ____, also of Pleasanton, and Fred were married.

Fred had grown up in Illinois where he worked as a surveyor and carried mail. Then he came to Pleasanton where his sister lived.

He farmed in Pleasant Valley; he and Anna had two children, a son and a daughter.  When he retired he & Anna moved to Kearney.

Fred died in 1966 at age 89. I found him buried in two different cemeteries.

At death Fred was buried in the Pleasanton cemetery

Anna lived to be 101. When she died in 1978, their daughter, who had married and was living in Kearney, purchased a 4-space plot in the Kearney Cemetery.

She had her mother buried there and moved her father from the Pleasanton to be buried next to his wife. Eventually she and her husband were buried in the other two spaces.

Story #4 – A Big Fat Boy

March 3, 1899 - Sartoria – Born to James & Louisa, a big fat boy. Mother and child are doing well.

What was the story about this family?

James came from Iowa, Louise from Austria. They married in about 1887.

This “big fat boy” was their 8th child (one had died, possibly the baby before this one), all born in Nebraska

Four more children were born in the next nine years, all in Washington, where the family apparently moved in about 1901 or 1902.

They lived near Mountain View where James had a dairy farm

When the older sons were grown they married and acquired farms next to their father.

Since they all lived side by side the road past their places was named after them.

As for the “big fat boy,” he dropped out of high school after one year and worked for his father on the dairy farm. By 1940, the last census published, he was still living with his now widowed father. He had not married, and was working in construction.

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Revised: 02/04/2018