Jefferson County Is Rich in Historic Lore
Located in the “Little Blue Valley,” friendly Jefferson County is rich in historic lore, the route of the Oregon Trail having passed across the county, and in some places the ruts left by the wagons of the “49’ers” can still be seen. Historic spots along the trail include the famous Rock Creek Station where “Wild Bill” Hickok killed David McCanles: the grave of George Winslow, the only grave along the entire trail marked with a stone; the burial place of many Mormons who died while camped along the trail (the Big Sandy crossing on the trail was the scene of many deaths). Jefferson County was the scene of possibly the largest battle ever fought between Indians. Ten thousand Sioux and Cheyennes battling 10,000 eastern Indians in 1832, was near where the Big Sandy Creek joins the Little Blue River. One of the last large battles between the Pawnee and Sioux was fought in this county in 1862.
Jefferson County Courthouse
The Jefferson County Courthouse is located in the middle of downtown Fairbury. Surrounding it are the original brick streets and quaint downtown with detailed building facades. It was built in 1891 of hand-cut limestone and features ceramic-fronted fireplaces in some offices and unique antique furniture in the courtroom. Leading up to the clock tower stand three statues of justice. Completing the courthouse is a valuable antique with the clock, “Little Ben” as it is sometimes called.
Welcome to Jefferson County
Whether you are looking for a great antique find, exploring the area’s history or settling in for a quiet weekend of camping, look to Jefferson County to satisfy all of your getaway adventures. Enjoy our many state and county recreation parks and campgrounds. Jefferson County offers boating, fishing, golfing, disc golf, hiking, searching for artifacts, hunting during quail, pheasant, turkey and deer season, or just relaxing.
Want to relive history?
- In June: attend the Rock Creek Trail Days (Rock Creek Station), the Pony Express Re-ride, Rock Island Rail Days (Rock Island Railroad Museum)
- In July: Living History Weekend (Steele City)
- In September: Steele City Flea Market/Antique Farm Machinery Show
For event dates, contact the Fairbury Chamber and Visitor Center (402) 729-3000 or www.visitoregontrail.org
What to see in Jefferson County
- Endicott Clay Products-Beehive Brick Kilns (located southwest of Endicott)
- Jefferson County Courthouse (located in Fairbury)
- Fairbury City Museum (located in Fairbury)
- McDowell’s Rose Creek Mausoleum (located southwest of Fairbury)
- Anna C. Diller Opera House (located in Diller)
- Diller Bank (located in Diller)
- Rock Island Depot Railroad Museum (located in Fairbury)
- Rock Creek Station State Historical Park (located east of Fairbury)
- W.C. Smith House & Lime Kiln (located north of Fairbury)
- Steele City Historical District (located in Steele City)
- Uncle Billy Smith’s Cabin (located in Endicott)
- George Winslow’s Grave (located northwest of Fairbury)
- Campbell Bros. Circus mural (located in Fairbury)
- Little Blue River Trail (located in Fairbury)
- Frontier Fun Park (located in Fairbury)
- Tri-County Oregon Trail Monument (located east of Steele City area)
- Pottery and Art Gallery (located in Fairbury)
- Four-Corner Survey Marker (located southwest of Fairbury)
- District 10 School Museum (located northwest of Fairbury)
- Steele City Canyons (located west of Steele City area)
- Wildlife Management Areas: offering hiking, hunting, fishing and primitive camping
- Rock Glen (located east of Fairbury near Rock Creek Station State Historical Park)
- Flathead (located south of Fairbury)
- Rose Creek (located southwest of Fairbury)
- Alexandria (located northwest of Fairbury near Alexandria State Recreation Area)
- Crystal Springs Park (located southwest of Fairbury) offering hiking, fishing and camping with RV hookups, showers and restrooms, picnic shelters and a shaded playground
- Alexandria State Recreation Area (located northwest of Fairbury) offering hiking, fishing and camping with RV hookups, modern and primitive restrooms, dump station, picnic shelters, playground
- Buckley Creek Recreational Area (located southwest of Fairbury) offering hiking, fishing, boating (5 mph limit), golfing, camping with RV hookups, restrooms and picnic shelters
- Cub Creek (located northeast of Fairbury) offering hiking, fishing, boating, hunting, camping, shelter, playground and restrooms
- Leisure Lake (located southeast of Plymouth) offering hiking, fishing, hunting and primitive camping
Looking for excitement?
- April-September: catch the mini sprint, truck and 3/4 midget racing at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds
- 1st Weekend in May: Disc Golf Weekend
- In June: Kids Adventure Race, American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, Run, Row, Rock & Roll Adventure Race (this is a national qualifier race), Plymouth Fireman’s Chicken BBQ & Dance
- In July: some good old-fashioned fun at local festival’s like the Diller Picnic, Jefferson Co. Fair, Shiner’s 4th of July Flea Market
- 1st Weekend in October: Endicott’s Lords Acre Festival
- 1st Saturday in November: the Frost Frolic Holiday Market
- In December: Christmas at the Depot (Rock Island Railroad Museum) and Old-Fashioned Christmas with a Festival of Trees.
Is your stomach growling? Need to wet your whistle or just wanting to kick back? Make sure to stop and enjoy the atmosphere of our homegrown restaurants, watering holes and grills with their knowledgeable, colorful and crazy characters. Choose a classic drive-thru and enjoy your meal inside or make it a picnic at one of our many parks. Our restaurants offer hometown favorites whether it be American, Asian or Mexican. Even the sports enthusiast can have a great time, where can you find mounds of made from scratch crunchy onion rings, battered chicken that grandma would be proud to serve, “Ginormous” burgers, locally breaded mountain oysters (you’ve got to try them), “Elephant Ear” steak, awesome sandwiches, enchiladas with an attitude, must-have prime rib, locally made hotdogs and wings … naked or sauced … are just a few things to try at our watering holes and grills. Yes, it’s going to be hard deciding what to eat.
Local Towns Tell Many Tales (past … present … future)
A cluster of nine small, rural communities provide the nucleus for the best in small-town living. For 7,874 current residents and thousands before them, Jefferson County is home . . . a place to raise a family, make friends, work, live and play. Learn what so many others have discovered: Jefferson County is not only a great place to visit, but a place to call home. The communities of Daykin, Diller, Endicott, Fairbury, Gladstone, Harbine, Jansen, Plymouth and Reynolds hold many treasures. They all have something for everyone, with historic buildings with detailed facades dating from the turn of the century, and rugged terrain reaching out to tell a tale of lore.
For more information contact:
FAIRBURY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & VISITOR CENTER
518 E ST. PO BOX 274 FAIRBURY, NE 68352