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Nebraska National Register Sites
in Otoe County

Rural Sites

 Boscobel, pdf [OT00-012] Listed 1976/06/17

Located along the historic Steam Wagon Road, the two-story, brick, Italianate dwelling was built in 1879 for the prominent Nebraska City freighter and businessman Rollin M. Rolfe. Rolfe became the first wholesale "jobber" south of the Platte River and was instrumental in developing a direct route from Nebraska City to Fort Kearny, which became known as the Nebraska City-Fort Kearny cutoff.

 Arbor Lodge, pdf (J. Sterling Morton House; NHL) [OT00-013] Listed 1969/06/02

J. Sterling Morton was the founder of Arbor Day, an American holiday designated for planting trees. The original house, built in 1855, was remodeled several times by the late 1800s. In 1903 Morton's son, Joy, converted the house to the three-story, fifty-two-room, Neo-Classical Revival mansion of today. As a pioneer Nebraska journalist, politician, and leader in horticulture and conservation, J. Sterling Morton served as secretary of agriculture under President Grover Cleveland in 1893. Arbor Lodge, located near Nebraska City, was donated to the state of Nebraska in 1923 and is now a state historical park administered by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

 Jasper A. Ware House, pdf (Wildwood Center) [OT00-014] Listed 1973/07/16

Jasper Anderson Ware was born in Kentucky in 1831 and moved to Otoe County in the 1850s. He opened one of the first private banks in Nebraska Territory in 1859 and was city treasurer from 1864 to 1867. The property, located near Nebraska City, includes the 1869 brick dwelling, an outstanding product of Gothic Revival architecture; a brick barn built about 1869; and several outbuildings. Commonly known as Wildwood Center, the property is now a museum.

George F. Lee Octagon House, pdf [OT00-018] Listed 1977/11/23

Located near the Missouri River, two octagon houses were built by George F. Lee, a farmer and carpenter who came to Otoe County in the fall of 1856. A frame octagon dwelling was built for George and Betsy Lee; in 1872 they moved across the road and built a brick octagon house. Today only the frame house remains.

Camp Creek Cemetery and Chapel [OT00-036] Listed 2011/03/21

Located between Nebraska City and Peru, the rural community of Camp Creek was formed soon after Nebraska Territory was opened to settlement in 1854. Twelve years later, a group of local men formed a public cemetery association and accepted the donation of one acre from George Lee. In honor of the cemetery's 50th Anniversary, the Lee's Ladies Cemetery Association (formed in 1912) raised funds to make improvements and build a chapel.

 Camp Creek School, pdf (Otoe County District #54) [OT00-037] Listed 1980/06/05

Located near Nebraska City the stuccoed brick building was constructed in 1870-75. It is a good example of the one-room school in Nebraska. The school district was created in 1857, ten years before Nebraska became a state, and the building has served as a rural meeting hall as well as an educational facility throughout its long history.

 Harmony School, pdf (School District 53) [OT00-083] Listed 2005/07/22

Located in rural Otoe County, the original Harmony School began operating in 1869. In 1879 a new schoolhouse, the current building, was constructed. This schoolhouse was in service for 118 years before closing in 1997. The Harmony School is significant for its association with rural education in Nebraska.

 Bridge, pdf [OT00-085] Listed 1992/06/29

This small-scale concrete bridge carries a gravel surfaced county road over a small unnamed watercourse southwest of Nebraska City. The structure dates to 1912. It has carried relatively light traffic since in unaltered and well preserved condition. As one of a handful of concrete arches remaining in Otoe County, this bridge is noteworthy for its high degree of detailing and quality workmanship.

 Little Nemaha River Bridge, pdf [OT00-086] Listed 1992/06/29, Amendment, pdf

As indicated by a builder's plate on the bridge itself, the structure was erected in 1901 by the John Gilligan Company of Falls City, Nebraska. Marketed extensively by virtually all of the in-state bridge contractors and promoted in the form of standardized designs by the Nebraska State Engineer's office, the pinned Pratt pony truss was used widely by Nebraska's counties to carry roads over the state's myriad small streams. Thousands of such small-scale trusses were erected across the state in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and many remain today. The Little Nemaha River Bridge, located near Syracuse, is technologically significant as one of the earliest examples in Nebraska of this common type.

 Wolf Creek Bridge, pdf [OT00-087] Listed 1992/06/29

In Nebraska, the pinned through truss was the bridge of choice for short- and medium-span applications in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Most of the structures erected during this period were based on standard plans developed either by the state engineer's office or by the individual bridge companies. As a result, hundreds of Pratts were built across the state, all essentially identical, and today the Pratt truss constitutes the most populous group of through trusses. However, the Wolf Creek Bridge is not like any other truss in Nebraska. Erected in 1889 by the King Iron Bridge Company, it displays features such as fishtail floor beams, peculiar upper-chord connections and "sideways" end posts and upper chords that were soon thereafter rendered anachronistic. Moved to this location near Dunbar, the truss has more recently been closed and its deck removed.

 Bridge, pdf [OT00-090] Listed 1992/06/29

Spanning a small tributary of the Little Nemaha River, this forty-foot bowstring carries a vacated section of county road southwest of Lorton. The wrought iron superstructure has evidently been moved to this crossing, its original location unknown. The structure consists of two-panel, bowstring arch-truss fabricated from a patented design by the King Iron Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio. It is perhaps one of five iron spans purchased by the county from King in June and July 1876.

Massow/Schutz House, pdf [OT00-164] Listed 2012/08/28
The Joachim Massow/Charles & Annie Schutz House is located in rural Otoe County between the villages of Otoe and Dunbar. Built in c. 1875, the wood-frame home is one of the best regional examples of the Gothic Revival style applied to a farmhouse. The Gothic Revival style is relatively rare in Nebraska, although it is seen applied to small rural schools and churches, both of which are threatened property types. Gothic Revival residences are uncommon, but the early settlement of southeastern Nebraska, within the later part of the style's popularity, provides more examples of the style than in other regions of the state.

 McCartney School District 17, pdf [OT00-268] Listed 2000/11/15

Constructed in 1927, the McCartney School is located just west of Nebraska City. The rural school has operated for seventy-three years and the building tangibly illustrates the enduring capacity of the traditional one-room schoolhouse to successfully educate the young.

Urban Sites

 Nebraska City Historic District, pdf [OT06:A] Listed 1976/10/29, updated 1987/09/15

The Nebraska City Historic District, comprising fifty-eight square blocks, is a major residential neighborhood that had its beginnings in the 1850s. The historic district contains excellent examples of architectural styles popular during the mid to late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries including Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Shingle, and Georgian Revival. These houses were occupied by some of Nebraska City's most prominent residents including George and Robert Hawke, Alexander Majors, William Fulton, and Robert Payne, who were involved in commercial and freighting ventures. The district also includes a small commercial area along Central Avenue (old Main Street). The earliest business activities of the city were concentrated along Central Avenue, which connected the Missouri River and what came to be known as Steam Wagon Road. The two-story masonry commercial buildings, which date from the 1870s and 1880s, replaced earlier structures, many of which were destroyed by fires in the 1870s.

 Otoe County Courthouse, pdf [OT06:A-003] Listed 1976/06/18

A contract for the new county courthouse in Nebraska City was signed in August 1864. A. G. Basset was the architect and W. R. Craig and F. W. Wood were hired as builders. The original two-story brick structure was completed in 1865 with additions being made about 1882 and 1936. The Otoe County Courthouse is the oldest public building in Nebraska still in use.

 United States Post Office, pdf [OT06:A-005] Listed 1971/09/03

Completed in 1889, the Nebraska City post office building was designed in 1886 under the direction of W. E. Bell, supervising architect for the U.S. Treasury. The two-story brick structure combines elements of the Chateauesque and Romanesque Revival styles to produce an impressive example of late nineteenth century governmental architecture.

 Morton-James Public Library, pdf [OT06:A-006] Listed 1976/05/28

The Morton-James Public Library is a brick and stone structure erected in 1896-97 and designed in a simplified Richardsonian Romanesque style by the Omaha architectural firm of Fisher and Lawrie. Discussions concerning the establishment of a Public library in Nebraska City began as early as 1885 with John W. Steinhart as the main promoter. Joy Morton (see J. Sterling Morton House) provided financial assistance to construct the library, which celebrated its grand opening on April 10, 1897.

 Kregel Wind Mill Company Building, pdf [OT06:A-016] Listed 1992/11/27

Beginning in at least 1890, The Kregel Wind Mill Company (then called the Nebraska City Manufacturing Company) began selling windmills in the Nebraska City area. Although their main product, the Eli windmill, was not widely marketed, the building (ca. 1905) is of special significance. The factory today remains completely intact with equipment and parts appearing as they probably did when the firm was in operation. This leaves the Kregel Wind Mill Building as a unique example of what was once an important part of the nation's history.

 Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall, pdf [OT06:A-042] Listed 1994/02/25

The Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Memorial Hall in Nebraska City was built in the Richardson Romanesque style in 1894. The G.A.R., formed in 1866, was a nationwide movement composed of Union veterans of the Civil War. Aside from the political influence it wielded, the association worked to increase patriotism, and provided an environment of fraternity and comradeship for its members. While other halls are still extant in the state, most are on the second floor of a multi-use commercial building. This building, however, is one of only three extant free-standing halls that were built exclusively by, or for, the G.A.R. in Nebraska.

South Thirteenth Street Historic District, pdf [OT06:D] Listed 1976/10/29

The South Thirteenth Street Historic District comprises nine and one-half square blocks of residential and industrial buildings located in the southwest part of Nebraska City. This area is associated with some of Nebraska City's business, professional, and political figures, including John Mattes, Sr., who operated the Mattes Brewing Company; Dr. Elisha Merritt Whitten, a physician who arrived in Nebraska City in 1867; and F. W. Rodenbrock, a successful grocer.

Mayhew Cabin [OT06:D-291] Listed 2011/02/11

As a tourist destination at its current location in Nebraska City since 1937, the Mayhew Cabin and "John Brown's Cave" were a commercial enterprise created by Edward Bartling; however, its importance to the state of Nebraska is more complex. With its connections to known abolitionist John Henry Kagi, and location that facilitated easy access across the Missouri River into Iowa, whether real or imagined, this property provided local residents, and Nebraskans at large, with an easily accessible connection to significant figures in American History, such as John Brown and the Underground Railroad. With skepticism and intrigue surrounding the property, the cabin and cave serve as a unique piece of Nebraska folklore.

South Nebraska City Historic District, pdf [OT06:E] Listed 1976/10/22

The South Nebraska City Historic District occupies nine square blocks and contains ninety structures primarily residential in nature, including several religious buildings. The district is a good example of a nineteenth century, moderate-income neighborhood displaying various architectural styles. The Taylor-Wessel House, a one-story brick dwelling built in 1857 for William H. Taylor, is one of the state's oldest buildings. The largest building in the district is the First Baptist Church, a simplified Romanesque Revival structure built in 1884-85 and designed by Omaha architects Fisher and Lawrie.

 Nebraska City Burlington Depot, pdf [OT06:E-001] Listed 1997/08/08

The introduction and expansion of the railroad to other areas of the state adversely impacted Nebraska City's status as a major river port and overland freighting center. The citizens of Nebraska City realized that in order to compete with other towns, their community needed passenger lines. In 1887 Burlington opened a passenger line between Omaha and Nebraska City. However, by 1910 many people in Nebraska City, seeing improvements made to railroad facilities in other towns, felt they were being slighted by Burlington because of the perceived inadequacy of the depot. The importance of having a larger modern depot played a duel role. First, it would allow for the accommodation of increased traffic. Also, the depot presented the first impression of a community to the passengers. After placing considerable pressure on the railroad, Burlington built a new depot for the community in 1912.

 St. Benedict's Catholic Church, pdf [OT06:F-009] Listed 1983/01/27

St. Benedict's Catholic Church is associated with Father Emmanuel Hartig, a missionary and Benedictine priest. Father Hartig, a native of Germany, served St. Benedict's for forty years and was responsible for the erection of six Catholic churches and the establishment of several parishes in southeastern Nebraska and northwestern Missouri. The church, located in Nebraska City, was built in 1861. It is a simplified version of the Romanesque Revival style and is believed to be the oldest brick Catholic church in Nebraska.

 Unadilla Main Street Historic District, pdf [OT12] Listed 1995/02/17

The Unadilla Main Street Historic District is located on triangular-shaped lots that contain nine connected buildings. These buildings diminish in size and scale from east to west, parallel Main Street and the railroad tracks. The district is an excellent example of the impact of the railroad on town form.

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