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Nebraska City Directory, 1870

Publisher J. M. Wolfe's directory of Nebraska City in 1870 was described in Nebraska History in 1938 as a "'historical and commercial sketch of the city': a directory of the town's streets and the state's post offices; and tables showing the rail distances on the St. Joseph & Council Bluffs and the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroads, as well as 3,112 miles to Fort Benton. And no point was too insignificant to be included. Jones' Wood Yard, Jackass Bend, Bouche's Grave, Quindaro, Head Pranties, Drowned Man's Rapids, and a score of similar appellations were gravely listed here." Even the advertisements are of interest; for example, a full page in color advertised photographer W. H. Jackson's stereoscopic views along the route of the Union Pacific Railroad.

"Here too is the old Otoe University (Presbyterian, 1859) with Rev. J. C. Elliott, A. M., as president and teacher of 'Languages and Moral Sciences,' and Hon. Daniel Gantt . . . lecturing on 'The Nature and Laws of the Mind.' Higher mathematics and all ancient and modern languages, it was claimed, were taught here; also music, painting and gymnastics.

"There were four other private schools in that early day: two Catholic schools, the Prairie Institute (Methodist, 1869), and the Nebraska College (Episcopalian, 1867). Then there were the Third Ward School and the High School-'the finest educational structure in the state-cost $35,000-accommodates 500 pupils-flourishing.'

"There were thirteen churches, five benevolent societies, three banks, one nursery, one hotel, and a life insurance company boasting one million dollars of Nebraska business. There were seven manufactories, including one bearing the classic name of 'Jos. Butzerin & Co.-Italian and American marble, tombstones and monuments.' There were four newspapers, two having daily-weekly circulations. The advertisement of the Nebraska City News is a masterpiece of ornate embellishment in red, white, and blue. Established in 1854, it claimed to be 'co-equal with Nebraska City, and rather a cause of the town than its sequence.' But Mr. Wolfe showed that Dr. Frederick Renner and his Staats Zeitung also played a strong part in Nebraska emigration and community building."

(March 2004)



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