Heritage Highway 136

Saline County

Saline County is one of the four corridor counties of Nebraska Heritage Highway 136, bordering both Jefferson and Gage County in central Nebraska. It was officially organized in 1867 and is home to more than 14,000 people. Saline County consists of eight charming communities, including Crete, DeWitt, Dorchester, Friend, Swanton, Tobias, Western, and Wilber. These range in size from less than 100 to nearly 7,000 and each one possesses unique characteristics and offerings.

Wilber, Nebraska was voted in as the county seat in 1877 and has held the title ever since, but prior to that time, the former towns of Swan City and Pleasant Hill each had their turn. Being located near Lincoln, Nebraska, there is quick and easy access to both rural and big city adventures for those living in or traveling through Saline County. The picturesque towns and villages, diverse outdoor activities and local attractions, renowned events, and beautiful countryside are sure to capture your attention! To learn more about Saline County, be sure to visit www.co.saline.ne.us


Welcome to Crete, Nebraska. (www.crete-ne.com)

Crete is a first-class city with a population of nearly 7,000. It houses the renowned Doane College, helping to educate students one at a time and provide them with a well-rounded college experience. Area residents and visitors have an abundance of businesses, attractions, and entertainment options to choose from. The downtown boasts quite a large variety, including the Isis Theatre and numerous eating establishments, both fast food and relaxed family dining to satisfy almost anything your taste buds crave. With multiple grocery, thrift, and variety shops and more, shopping is plentiful! There is an impressive mural painted on the side of a brick building downtown for you to check out, the College Heights Country Club, and a well-maintained system of parks and recreation facilities.

PUBLIC PARKS are plentiful in Crete, providing many fun activities for both kids and adults. Picnics are always a family favorite! With many spacious playgrounds, tennis/basketball courts, athletic fields, camping opportunities, and more, there is something for nearly everyone to enjoy.

City Park – 12th & Kingwood Avenue
Wildwood Park – 4th & Grove Avenue
Northward Park – 20th & Main Avenue
Westwood Park – just off Briar Avenue
Tuxedo Park/Campground – Tuxedo Park Road
Gus Stoll Park – 7th & Oak Avenue

WILDWOOD POOL is located at 280 Grove Avenue in Crete and provides plenty of laughter and thrills for the family. With its long and winding slides, you are sure to pick up some speed along the way and end with a big splash! There is also a colorful Splash Pad that will cool you down and create some giggles among the kids. For more information, please call 402-826-3500 or visit www.crete-ne.gov.

DOANE COLLEGE was established in 1871 and is the oldest four-year, private liberal arts institution in Nebraska. Doane College offers Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees in 40 different areas of study with five divisions: science, mathematics and information science and technology; arts and humanities; social science; education and physical education; and business. The campus rests on 300 acres and includes 3 must-see buildings from the National Register of Historic Places. The campus is simply beautiful and the Boswell Observatory museum on-site is open for the public to explore. Call Mark at 402-826-8621 or Janet at 402-826-8234.

SPECIAL EVENTS are held throughout the year at Crete, drawing visitors from both near and far!

Spring Garden Show
Mayors Day at the Municipal Pool
Riverside Music Festival
Fire Works and Community Band Concert – July 4th – College Heights Country Club
Saline County Fair
Children’s Halloween Parade
Sertoma Las Vegas Night
Czech Music Concert
Crete Winterlude Festival


Welcome to DeWitt, Nebraska. (www.dewittne.com)

DeWitt, Nebraska was first established in 1872 when the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad was completed from Crete to Beatrice. It is currently comprised of nearly 600 people and takes pride in its many achievements and small town values. DeWitt has made its mark worldwide through its good people, the products that were manufactured at the former VISE-GRIP Plant, and the purebred breeding stock of its specialized agricultural ventures. With three churches, a couple of restaurant-pubs, a beauty salon, library, bank, daycare, and large community center, and plenty of outdoor activities, there is a nice variety of services still available to residents and visitors.

DEWITT 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION is held each year around this holiday. It draws large crowds from many of the surrounding counties and even from out-of-state. This event typically lasts several days and features activities such as kickball, sand volleyball, and co-ed softball tournaments, live music, a poker competition, the “Firecracker Run,” a car show, lots of food, bingo, a street dance,  quilt show, free swimming, a downtown parade, and games for the kids. To top it all off is the notorious fireworks show!

SWIMMING POOL Located at 207 N. Cherry Street in DeWitt, Nebraska is a refreshing swimming pool, where both kids and adults love to spend their afternoons and evenings in the hot summer months. There are slides, diving boards, and concession stands available at this location, as well as trained lifeguards, lounge chairs, and a baby pool and awning. Please call 402-683-2805 for more information.

OTHER RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES include peaceful city parks, spacious picnic shelters, exciting sand volleyball and tennis courts, ball fields, and great fishing and hunting spots.


Welcome to Friend, Nebraska. (http://www.ci.friend.ne.us/)

Friend is located just 12 miles south of Interstate 80 and is home to a little over 1,000 residents. Visitors entering the town on U.S. Highway 6 will instantly feel at-home, as they are greeted by colorful billboard signs that say, “WELCOME TO FRIEND!” This is a true testament to the inviting nature of the residents and businesses in this town.

FRIEND COUNTRY CLUB is located on the east side of Friend. It is a public 9-hole golf course and country club, perfect for a relaxing or competitive afternoon with friends! Please call 402-947-6501 or visit www.friendcountryclub.com for more details.

POLICE STATION Once listed in Ripley’s Believe It or Not as the world’s smallest police station, this tiny building was first used as a tool shed for the construction crews who built Highway 6. It later doubled in size so that the State Patrol could also use it, but it is still believed to be the smallest combination police station in the world and provides a fun stop for tourists!

ONE-OF-A-KIND MURALS have been painted on various buildings and signs in Friend, demonstrating the town’s appreciation for the local arts. If you enjoy viewing masterpieces such as these, then traveling around the city of Friend will be a real treat.

FRIEND CITY PARK spans 10 acres and offers many fun activities for kids and adults to enjoy! There are both tennis and volleyball courts, as well as a softball field, which are great for those who enjoy being active, watching sports, or practicing their skills. With lots of playground equipment, designated picnic areas, restrooms, a clubhouse, and a sparkling swimming pool on-site, the options are seemingly endless!

WARREN OPERA HOUSE is a wonderful piece of history just waiting to be discovered. The Warren Opera House used to be a premier destination for social gatherings, serving Friend and surrounding communities for thirty-four years. It offered an elegant venue for plays, dances, lectures, political events, sporting events, and even a circus!


Welcome to Wilber, Nebraska. (http://www.wilberchamberofcommerce.com)

Wilber is situated along Highway 103, just 36 miles southwest of Lincoln and has a population of close to 2,000. The first Czech settlers came into this area in 1865 and the town was officially mapped out in 1873 on land that C.D. Wilber generously donated. During 1900, approximately 90 percent of the town’s 1,250 inhabitants were of Czech descent. They brought with them a love for music, drama, gymnastics, education, patriotism, well-tended lawns and gardens, and many traditional Czech foods. So, it is easy to see why Wilber was proclaimed the “Czech Capital of Nebraska” by Governor Frank Morrison in 1963. In 1987, it was then proclaimed the “Czech Capital of the U.S.A.” by President Ronald Reagan. The friendly citizens of Wilber, Nebraska invite you to come out and explore their community and get a feel for its rich cultural history!

NATIONAL WILBER CZECH FESTIVAL is an annual celebration that commemorates the unique history and culture of the town. Known for its delicious kolaces, live polka music, dances, the Miss Czech-Slovak U.S. Pageant, parades, and other exciting activities, this festival draws individuals from all over the country each summer. For more details, please visit www.nebraskaczechsofwilber.com.

“A DAY TO REMEMBER” walking tours are available for groups of all sizes and are organized by the Wilber Chamber of Commerce. Stops include the Czech Museum, Wilber Bakery, Hotel Wilber, and more! Advance arrangements can be made by calling 1-888-4-WILBER or (402) 821-2320.

WILBER CZECH MUSEUM Located at 102 W. 3rd Street, the exhibits in this museum are sure to leave you with a better understanding and appreciation of the rich culture that characterizes Wilber. Open daily from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment. To reserve a tour, call 402-499-0737, and for more information on museum hours, call 402- 821-2183. This attraction offers free admission, although tax-free donations are always accepted.

WILBER SWIMMING POOL can be found at 500 South Wilson Street, just west of Highway 103. With two thrilling water slides, a log crossing, diving boards, a wading pool, spraying geysers, and a water umbrella, this location will provide some much needed relief from the hot sun and provide hours of entertainment.

WILBER CITY PARK is situated in the western part of town, right off of Highway 41 on Third Street. It has sprawling green grasses and large shade trees, as well as modern playground equipment, a picnic shelter, and plenty tables. It is a great place for a birthday party or afternoon playtime!

AMERICAN LEGION PARK/CAMPGROUND can be found near the south entrance of Wilber, just to the west of Highway 103. Lighted courts and fields are available so that you can enjoy playing or watching tennis, softball, and baseball. There is also plenty of modern playground equipment for the kids to climb on and explore. In addition, the on-site campground can accommodate everything from tents to large campers. There are 43 electrical hookups (30 and 50 amp service), restrooms, picnic shelters, a dump station, and showers available, helping to round out your experience. The Legion Park Building is also available for rent for your next big gathering and holds up to 125 people.

Other Communities in Saline County

There are a number of other charming communities scattered throughout Saline County, including Dorchester and Western, which have a population of 586 and 235, respectively. There is also Tobias and Swanton, being comprised of only 106 and 94 residents each. Don’t let the size of these quaint little towns fool you, though. Several still operate banks, post offices, bars, and various other offices in their downtown areas. Plus, you never know what type of hidden treasure you will find if you take the time to drive or walk around and explore them. They are peaceful, have a number of fascinating old buildings and beautifully restored houses, and welcome you with open arms. Dorchester, Swanton, Tobias, and Western each maintain fun little parks for the kids, too, as described below:


Between E. 7th and E. 8th Street on Franklin Avenue in Dorchester, Nebraska is a lovely park that kids and even adults can enjoy! With paved walkways, nice park benches, two separate jungle gyms, and a fenced basketball court, there is much to keep you busy. In addition, this park offers two nice picnic shelters with tables, one smaller and one bigger, a hydrant, restrooms, and wide open spaces. There is even a bike rack for those who want to ride over!


The Swanton City Park can be found at 2nd and Main Street. It offers delightful teeter totters, a nice tall slide, picnic shelter, and merry-go-round. Many neighborhood kids enjoy spending time here during the summer months or after school, but it is also a peaceful location for visitors.


Just east of Main Street, between 2nd and 4th Street in Tobias, Nebraska is an expansive and well-maintained park. It includes lots of colorful and updated playground equipment, such as a climbing dome, swings for children of all ages, slides, bouncy horses, and more. There is also a ball field and picnic shelter on-site to better accommodate your interests.


Located just south of W. Sumner Street in Western, Nebraska is an exciting park, fully equipped to meet your recreational needs. Here, you will find various pieces of colorful jungle gym equipment, a cement basketball court, the always thrilling merry-go-round, and swings and slides of different sizes. This park is also filled with gorgeous trees, providing much-needed shade, a beautiful picnic shelter,  restrooms, and more, so be sure to check it out!

Hunting/Fishing/Recreation in Saline County

Divoky Acres WMA – 8½S, 1W of Dorchester; dove, pheasant, quail, rabbit; 160 acres

Swanton NRD – 3N, 1¼W of Swanton; deer, dove, pheasant, quail, rabbit, squirrel, turkey, waterfowl; recreation area open to hunting, fishing, trapping and hiking by foot traffic only; call 402-228-3402 for NRD regulations; 200 acres

Schwisow WPA – 2E of Western; pheasant, waterfowl; nontoxic shot only; 61 acres

Swan Creek WMA – 7E of Milligan on Neb. Hwy. 41; deer, dove, pheasant, quail, rabbit, waterfowl; 160 acres

Swanton NRD – 3N, 1¼W of Swanton; deer, dove, pheasant, quail, rabbit, squirrel, turkey, waterfowl; recreation area open to hunting, fishing, trapping and hiking by foot traffic only; call 402-228-3402 for NRD regulations; 200 acres

Walnut Creek NRD – ½E, 3½N of Crete; deer, dove, pheasant, quail, rabbit, squirrel, turkey, waterfowl; recreation area open to hunting, fishing, trapping and hiking by foot traffic only; call 402-228-3402 for NRD regulations; 84 acres

Willard L. Meyer Recreation Area (Swan Lake NRD) – 3E, 2N of Tobias; deer, dove, pheasant, quail, rabbit, squirrel, turkey, waterfowl; recreation area open to hunting, fishing, trapping and hiking by foot traffic only; call 402-228-3402 for NRD regulations; 290 acres