Johnson County

First Rural Mail Delivery in Nebraska – Tecumseh Post Office – 484 Broadway in Tecumseh

Tecumseh was the site of the first rural mail delivery on November 7, 1896 and was second in the United States. Information is on display in the Tecumseh Post Office and a sign in front was installed in July 2007, 111 years after the event. Ben Buffum made the initial trip as a carrier on Route 1, located in Nemaha Precinct, which was southwest of Tecumseh. Mr. Buffman, driving a team of horses and buggy, delivered nine pieces of mail on his first trip. Samuel K. Blythe, who lived three quarters of a mile south of Tecumseh, held the honor of being the first patron to receive a parcel of mail delivered by Rural Free Delivery Service in Nebraska.   Cigar boxes, tin cans, and the like were hastily nailed to posts by patrons and served as the initial mailboxes.

Keim Stone Arch Bridge – 3 miles east and 1 mile north of Tecumseh on Highway 136

The Nebraska State Historical Society designated the Keim Stone Arch Bridge as historic on June 19, 1992, by placing it on the National Register of Historic Places of the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service. The bridge was built in 1916 by a prominent bridge builder, the Keim Cement Company, as indicated on the bridge itself. It is a rare, well-preserved example of early twentieth-century stone bridge construction and is the only surviving stone bridge built by the Keim Company.

Civil War Soldier Memorial Statue – Courthouse Grounds in Tecumseh

A Civil War Soldier memorial statue was erected “in memory of all soldiers and sailors of Johnson County” by the Heckathorn Post No. 47, Nebraska GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) in 1903.

World War I Cannon – Courthouse Grounds in Tecumseh

A replica of a World War I cannon was erected in memory of the USS Maine, which was destroyed in Havana Harbor on February 14, 1898. The cannon is a replica because the original cannon was called up in World War II to be used as scrap metal. The plaque placed on the memorial was originally cast from the metal of the USS Maine.

Bandshell – Courthouse Grounds in Tecumseh

A bandshell was erected on the southeast corner of the courthouse square after World War II in memory of those from Johnson County who made the ultimate sacrifice. Their names are listed on a plaque which is located on the bandshell.

Johnson County Courthouse – Courthouse Grounds in Tecumseh

The Johnson County Courthouse is an impressive, beautiful and stately courthouse built in 1888. One of the interesting things about its construction is that the contractor was not satisfied with the cement used for making the concrete so he had cement shipped over here from Germany.   Another interesting fact: the bricklayers made $3.00 for a 10-hour day and the carpenters made $2.00 for a 10-hour day. The architecture is an excellent, largely unaltered example of the Property Type, County Capitol. Identifying features include: corner towers and central dome, permanent costly materials, elaborate ornamentation, Romanesque Revival stylistic influence, four entrances, and impression of a government building of permanence and solidity. The courthouse was designed by an important Nebraska architect, William Gray. The two-story courthouse rests on a very high raised basement. The 91’x68’ building is essentially rectangular, but prominent corner towers topped with curving hipped roofs and four two-story pediments at the projecting entrances vary that shape. A remarkable two-tiered dome – layers of radiating voussoirs, round-arched windows, Corinthian capitals, elaborate bull’s eye windows, lantern and weathervane – rises a total of 110’ from the center of the building. A variety of materials adorn the courthouse. Cherry red St. Joseph brick contrasts well with the Nemaha County limestone, which is variously rough cut, smooth and also carved. Particularly effective is the rough stone of the raised basement, which is repeated on the bands of the entry columns and on the continuous round arches of the second story windows. Smooth stone is used for the water table and for the sills. Fine organic carvings form the capitals of the entry columns. Pressed brick squares using a floral pattern provide further textural interest. Based on analysis of a building supply catalog, experts who studied the courthouse when the copper lantern was replaced in 1977 believe that the metal ornamentation of columns, cornices, towers, and the dome was order from the firm of Friedley and Voschardt of Chicago. Romanesque Revival stylistic elements enrich the surface and constitute the dominant stylistic influence. These include the massing, polychrome effect, semi-circular arches, various textures through the use of various materials, and foliated forms. Classical motifs are also present and include Adamesque swags, pediments, dentils, and smooth slender columns. The matching entrances of each façade are noteworthy combinations of Romanesque on the first story with classical elements above. At the recessed entry doors are three squared columns.

First Rural Mail Route

First Rural Mail Free Delivery in Nebraska at Tecumseh

Keim bridge

Kim Stone Bridge – 3 miles East & 1 mile North of Tecumseh

Civil War

Civil War Statue on Courthouse Grounds

Cannon

World War I Cannon

Courthouse Postcard

Johnson County Courthouse