publications

Blue Rivers

Except for the occasional Indian or white hunting parties, the scenic Blue River valley was seldom visited prior to 1860. The establishment of the Nebraska City-Fort Kearny Cutoff in 1861 brought through the region thousands of overland freighting outfits. Road ranches were soon established along the trail, and scattered settlement began shortly thereafter. “Immigrants who come hither with a view to permanent settlement, can find no better locality than the valley of the Blue River, West and South-west of this city,” reported the Nebraska City News on June 7, 1862.

“Although there is an abundance of vacant land between that stream and the Missouri, a great deal of which is well-timbered, the Blue region offers unexampled inducements. The main stream, which directly West of us is 66 miles distant, is West Branch and Beaver Creek (emptying into the West Branch) which heads about 75 miles farther west and run[s] nearly due East, Turkey creek, the Little Blue and the Big Sandy, are all heavily timbered with wide bottoms and pure water. The timber abounds with game; and the water with fish. The soil is of unexampled fertility. The Salt Springs of Lancaster county are within convenient distance. The Great Central Route to Denver–a road thoroughly bridged and opened–crosses the Blue, directly west of this city, and runs out to the Platte on the divide between the West Branch and Beaver Creek.

“For stock raising–the most profitable business the settler can go into, the valleys of the Big Blue and its tributaries are unequalled. For cereal crops, the soil is adapted in every respect; and the numerous ranches, and constant trains of emigrants and traders will afford a never failing market at the very gateways of the farms. For sheep and especially fine breeds–the high rolling prairies and the dry equable climate, are in every way superior to any other part of this continent. Southern Nebraska will undoubtedly, ere long, be celebrated as the most successful wool-growing country in the world.

“There are a good many settlers along the Blue, already. A score or more of families have gone there this spring; several of them, those who had started for the mountains, but who found sufficient attractions on our beautiful western prairies and groves, to cause them to abandon the prospect of a life of never-ending toil among the wilds of the gold-digging regions for the more bountiful prospect of ease, comfort and wealth near the Blue River. We advise every immigrant to seek a home upon that stream, and after a year or two, if he is not content to remain, we will acknowledge ourselves sadly mistaken [in] our estimate of the value of the country.”

(September 2005)

 

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

Other Publications

The Bachelors’ Protective Union of Kearney

When the Bachelors' Protective Union gave a gala reception for two of its newly married, former members and their brides in March of 1890, the social club for young, ...

U.S. Weather Bureau in 1890s Nebraska

The U.S. Weather Bureau was established by an act of Congress on October 1, 1890. It took over the weather service that had been established in the office of the Chief ...

Canning the Way to Victory

During American participation in World War I the U.S. Food Administration, under the direction of Herbert Hoover, launched a massive campaign to persuade Americans to ...

The Shoemaker’s Ashes

"Edward Kuehl, one of the most peculiar characters that ever lived in Omaha, or anywhere else, was found dead in his bed last night in the back room of his place of ...

Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger Foreward

Red Dog, an Oglala Lakota who lived at the Red Cloud Agency, Nebraska, 1876-77 (Nebraska State Historical Society RG2955.ph).   In the summer of 1876, following the ...

Darryl F. Zanuck

Darryl F. Zanuck Darryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979), a native Nebraskan, produced some of Hollywood's most important and controversial films. He helped found 20th Century Fox ...

The Burlington’s Profitable Pork Special

Nebraska railroads were much concerned with developing an adequate economy in the areas they served. The Burlington, for example, had a long history of caring for the ...

Bungalow Filling Stations

After the giant Standard Oil Company was broken into thirty-four separate companies in 1911, the newly independent Standard Oil of Nebraska dominated the state's market ...

The Bull Fight

This is the perfect time of year for a visit to the old fishin' hole. But a group of fisherfolk from Plainview discovered that this bucolic pastime sometimes has ...

Buffalo Soldiers West

African-American soldiers on the western frontier are the focus of an exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln. Buffalo Soldiers West, on loan from the Colorado ...

Protection for Buffalo

The extermination of the buffalo on the Plains occurred largely between 1870 and 1885. The Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln on February 1, 1874, editorialized in vain ...

Buffalo Hunting

In late October 1877 young Rolf Johnson and three friends left their homes in Phelps County, Nebraska, for a buffalo hunt in northeastern Colorado. The hunt was not very ...
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.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast.

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.