Marker Monday: Phelps County

Location: 701-749 5th Ave, Holdrege, Phelps County, Nebraska; 40.439180, -99.37061

Note: the word Indian is used instead of Native American as it was the norm at the time.

Marker Text: The great immigrant roads to the West which followed the Platte River brought the first settlers to this area. Beginning in the late 1850’s, these frontiersmen operated stage stations, road ranches, and trading posts. An August attack upon a wagon train in present northwestern Phelps County, known as the Plum Creek Massacre, was the initial incident of the Indian War of 1864. Phelps County was organized on April 23, 1873, with the northern town of Williamsburg being named the county seat. The seat of government was moved to Phelps Center in 1879 and again to Holdrege, its present location, in 1883. Early settlers, lured by government homestead lands and cheap railroad lands, were mainly of Swedish descent. Excellence in education, religion, and agriculture was their goal, as it is today. This area is credited with one of the world’s largest underground water supplies. Phelps County is 348,000 acres in size of which 338,300 are farmland. In 1973, the county’s centennial year, over 62% of its cropland is watered by 1,041 irrigation wells and over 350 miles of ditches and laterals.

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Lending a Helping Hand: Social Settlement of Omaha

Lending a Helping Hand: Social Settlement of Omaha

Nebraska and the resettlement of displaced persons after World War II, part 1

Nebraska and the resettlement of displaced persons after World War II, part 1

Marker Monday: Evelyn Sharp

Marker Monday: Evelyn Sharp

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.
Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.