1983 Saunders County History - General History Part 5

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Saunders County
Yesterday and Today

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Part 5


      The courthouse grounds were used on July 4, 1893, when rain caused every other site to be inundated for a picnic sponsored by the Catholics - A.O.U.W., but everyone attended.

      The grounds are also filled with many historic items.

      Submarine - Each October one can find the Nebraska-Wahoo Chapter of the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II conducting memorial service at the site of the memorial on the Courthouse lawn on the east side in Wahoo. The first dedication was made on September 9, 1962, by the U.S. Submarine Veterans with the cooperation of Wahoo veterans and citizens. This memorial honors the 80 crewmen lost aboard the submarine Wahoo, October 11, 1943, in La Pereuec Strait. From among that crew honored were Robert J. Jasa of Wahoo and Donald Smith of Humboldt. Each October a memorial service is held for the Wahoo crewmen as well to honor the crewmen of the other 51 submarines lost in World War II.

Submarine Wahoo
Submarine Wahoo

      In June 1968, a Historical Marker was placed on the east side of the Courthouse lawn. It was a two-year project of the Saunders County Historical Society, the Wahoo Lions Club, and the city of Wahoo. The Historical Marker contains information on the early history of the county and county seat, a statement on Wahoo's five famous sons, about the Wahoo name, and how, in 1883, the Swedish Settlers established a school.

Historical Marker
Historical Marker

      Eternal Flame memorial east of the courthouse was erected in 1969, and dedicated on Friday, May 30th of that year. This memorial was financed by eleven Posts and presented to the citizens of Saunders County in observance of the American Legion's Fiftieth Anniversary.

Eternal Flame
Eternal Flame

      The eleven Legion Posts unanimously agreed to extinguish the gas flame during the present difficult time of energy shortages.

      County American Legion Commander, Richard Shimerka of Prague, relates that appropriate relighting ceremonies will be held when the energy crisis is ended.

      Two markers by U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey tell that Wahoo is 1,214.2 feet above sea level.

      Stone marker, set in 1930, is in memorial to Dr. E.O. Weber.

      Stone cornice pieces (on east lawn) were removed from the roof of the building when it was extended and saved because they are so interesting.

      Pine trees were planted as memorials.

      Other than memorials, there were buildings on the lawn. An old jail used to be on the southeast corner. The present jail was erected in April, 1930, when George W. Harmon, Frank Houfek and Martin Swanson were County Commissioners.

      Also in the southeast corner, a boiler building once stood.



      The first courthouse at Wahoo was built in 1874. The first steps were taken on April 5. The building was completed November 14, 1874, except for the chimneys.

      Because the old courthouse became inadequate, it was decided to build a new structure. A plan was inaugurated in 1890 for construction of a new county building but the matter was dropped due to opposition. The first issue then came up again in August of 1903, but not until the election was held Nov. 3, 1903 did the bond issue pass.

      The courthouse is a real study in history. Its cornerstone was laid June 2, 1904. As you enter the main door to the east and climb the marble stairway, you can view murals which tell the story of our county pioneers.

      Two Chicago artists traveled to Wahoo in 1904, commissioned to put the story of the settlement of the county on the walls. On the south wall of the stairway is the original courthouse flanked on each side by bridges of the county. According to Joe Hradsky, long-time custodian, "On the north side, a Conestoga wagon with a team of 4 oxen bumps its way west through the prairie dust to our area under the direction of a sun-hardened pioneer. On each side of the wagon mural are Indians as seen by the artists on their journey to Wahoo."

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      Ionic columns, cast in white clay and stained to a wooden hue, separate the murals. The decorated ceiling is separated from the walls by gilded woodwork that has never been retouched.

      In the Co. Board of Supervisors Chamber are found smaller murals. On one wall is a picture of the first County Courthouse in Ashland. Another painting is the artist's conception of a sod house. It was modeled after an old sod house which was still standing on the Tom Konecky farm, 3 1/2 miles west of Wahoo.

      The present site of the building was an old Otoe Indian Cemetery. "When they dug the foundation, " Hradsky tells, "they found lots of bones from the cemetery."

      All the county records since 1970 are stored in a steel, fireproof vault deep under the building.

      There are 142 steps to the cupola; then there is a dome over this.

      In 1966, the bricks on the outside were sandblasted and repainted. A canopy has been added over the south entrance and a weather protective door at the north entrance.

Saunders County Courthouse - Wahoo





Ashland (Cass County) 1886 Memphis
Cedar Bluffs Morse Bluff
Ceresco Prague
Colon - (Colan) Valparaiso
Ithaca Wahoo
Leshara Weston - (Troy)
Malmo Yutan - (Clear Creek)
Mead - (Alvin, Saunders)  
  Josephine L. Jenny

Wahoo Post Office
Post Office - Wahoo

Discontinued Saunders County Post Offices

EstablishedNamePostmasterDiscontinuedPrecinct - Location
1869  PohoccoJ.H. StaatsFebruary 9, 1871Pohocco
1870Lone ValleyAndrew J. JamisonMarch 2, 1874 
1870AtticaLucius W. GodfreyAug. 28, 1872 
1871LothairIra MowersMarch 6, 1872Center
1872Ash BluffPatrick BennettApril 17, 1873 
1873Strauss (4 mos.)Gustin FlintJuly 21, 1873 
1869EldredJohn H. EldredSept. 25, 1874Center, Sec. 26 NW 1/4
1868BentonJames R. SwanApril 23, 1877 
1873BradfordHiram ChubbJuly 15, 1879 
1874Wantiska to CrowderGeorge A. NewmannApr. 1, 1879 
1868HeadlandJaspar RichardsonOct. 31, 1877Union
1870PlattevilleNathaniel PascoeMarch 19, 1879Pohocco
1878Rose HillJohn M. RogersSept. 24, 1879Richland, Sec. 32 NW 1/4
1872Slavania to Cedar HillB.P. RiceMarch 10, 1888Bohemia, Sec. 36
1875ClaytonKennedy M. DicksonNov. 8, 1883 
1869EsteinaWm. H. EstyJune 22, 1883Union, Sec. 7
1875ISLAJacob H. ShortNov. 11, 1886Mariposa, Sec. 10, NW 1/4
1870MiltonDonald W. FolsomMarch 29, 1886Green, Sec. 8, SE 1/4
1872Willow CreekChas. B. BaldwinMarch 10, 1888Chester, Sec. 14, SW 1/4
1880ChaslawJames CudaAugust 3, 1882 
1883EdensburghJohn P. NyquistNov. 3, 1886Mariposa, Sec. 27, NE 1/4
1884VedaLevi W. ButterDec. 28, 1887Green, Sec. 33
1872NewtonBenjamin SternsApril 6, 1894Elk, Sec. 30, SW 1/4
1874* Rescue
Re-established March 11, 1903
Discontinued - October 31, 1933
Milton M. RunyanJuly 31, 1900Chester, Sec. 20, NE 1/4
1877Pilsen (Polstam, a few months)Henry Fisher  
1884PlasiFrank KubikApril 14, 1904Elk, Sec. 15, SW 1/4
1870Sand CreekRobt. FlemingJuly 31, 1903Douglas, Sec. 22
1908WannChas G. MillerSept. 30, 1950Marble, Sec. 36
1892TouhySamuel Glassborn1959Newman, Sec. 35
1873SwedeburgJerome Barnell1972Stockburg Sec. 33 SW 1/4
1873MelroseH.J. McKeeJan. 1884 

1868 Post Office
6'x8' Post Office
North of Malmo

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