Three miles east and 1 mile south of town, Alexandria State Recreation Area offers good fishing year-round in its two recently reconstructed lakes, which total 47 acres of water (electric trolling motors only). The 1,212-acre area is shaded by mature trees and offers hiking, wildlife viewing, picnic shelters and camping. Twenty-five sites have 30-amp electrical hookups, and modern rest rooms and concessions are on site. (402) 729-5777.
Alexandria is filled with history; the Big Sandy River located south of town had a resort itself with cabins, boating, swimming, a swinging bridge and a big water slide. The Oregon Trail ruts are still visible southeast of town, the skunk farm, limestone was available for many buildings and of course, the old country school located southeast of town. Alexandria is the “A” on the alphabetized Street. Joseph & Denver City Railroad, now the Union Pacific line, between Fairbury and Hastings.
Chester home of the “Little Boy Blue” monument. This community found a boy’s body, dressed only in blue pajamas, on the highway, a cold, snowy night, that had been abandoned by his father. The community named the boy “Matthew, gift of God,” gave him a funeral and his final resting ground.
Chester is now the home of artist Cindy Chinn. Originally from San Francisco, Chinn purchased the former Chester School and now has her studio there. A sculptor and painter, Chinn is inspired by her surroundings. While in Chester, be sure to stop by Foote’s Café (402) 324-5674 for a home-cooked meal.
Davenport’s unusual claim to fame is that the first Gideon Bible to be placed in a hotel was in the town of Davenport. That Bible is now in the Gideon headquarters in Chicago. Davenport is the “D” on the alphabetized St. Joseph & Denver City Railroad, now the Union Pacific line, between Fairbury and Hastings.
Base Hit Bar & Restaurant (402) 364-2319 is open daily for noon and evening meals.
Deshler is home of the world’s largest Broom Factory in the ’50s-’60s. Since then Deshler is known for Reinke Pivot Irrigation, you can watch the original pivot, 1968, still working on the Northwest corner of the Deshler west entrance.
The east entrance to Deshler greets you with Centennial Park Arboretum complete with a gazebo with numerous trees and plants. There are 15 species of memorial trees and 32 varieties of shrubs and native grasses. As you travel down Main Street, you see another park called The Friendship Garden. We invite you to sit on the limestone benches, watch for the many birds in the creek area and have your picture taken with our dragon sculpture.
The Rattlesnake Disc Golf Course is quite challenging with nine holes spread out over a 3/4 mile course. The course starts at the Friendship Garden, follows the creek, has holes at the fairgrounds, ball field, City Park and then back to the Friendship Gardens.
As you travel back up town, you may hear the Old Bank clock chiming every 15 minutes letting you know the time. The old original clock, controlled by a wind-up clock that needed to be wound up once a week, is located in the bank building. The chimes have been replaced and now Deshler is back to knowing just what time it is 24 hours a day. No one remembers when the chimes quit playing but everyone is delighted the chimes are playing again.
Deshler Daze is celebrated the third weekend in June, with a BBQ chicken supper on Friday, breakfast, games and food in the park, Cardboard Duct Tape Boat races at the swimming pool, Alumni Banquet on Saturday, and church services on Sunday.
As you leave Deshler traveling west on Highway 136, look toward the west past the pond on the south side of Highway 136, see the variety of animals that are in pasture. As you continue to go west, you will see Sky Hawk Field, where the remote control airplanes can be seen flying loop-to-loops and other interesting patterns. Next, you will see the old one-room schoolhouse that was moved to this location. Stop and peek into the windows to reminisce the olden days.
The Deshler City Park has the swimming pool, ball fields, picnic areas, disc golf course, camping, play equipment and horseshoe pits. Free camping is available in the City Park with electrical hook-ups and water. The Wheelhouse Restaurant (402) 365-7245, both C & M Supply (402) 365-7200 and the Deshler Bar (402) 365-7667 has sandwiches and pizza.
“There is a balm in Gilead,” Jeremiah 8:22. This town’s name derives from Mount Gilead, Palestine. It is thought by many that the town was named “Gilead” because it is approximately the same distance from another town name Hebron that is also located in the Holy Land.
A limestone school named the Coordsen School, has been dedicated as a new landmark, northeast of Gilead.
The Pioneers Inn Restaurant & Bar (402) 768-7409 is located in a building built in 1887, made of limestone and brick. The building has survived through three fires in Gilead. The building was first used for the railroad workers; they ate downstairs and slept upstairs. Jesse James the outlaw has been known to eat many a good meal at this location. His sister lived 2 miles north of town on the River Road. Stop by and enjoy good food, atmosphere, and listen to the locals tell their stories.
The Fangmeier Farms Pumpkin Patch is located near Gilead. Open late September – October 31. Family fun, pumpkins, corn maze, hay bale maze and games. (402) 768-2120.
Hebron has the World’s Largest Porch Swing, located at the City Park at 5th and Jefferson. Local volunteers built a swing with a seat 32 feet long. Because Hebron does not also have the world’s largest front porch, the swing is in Roosevelt Park downtown. In true Nebraska fashion, a section of center pivot forms the swing’s top girder. This top girder is actually a subcomponent of the Reinke Corner Gator, a corner watering system, manufactured in Deshler.
The swing is said to be long enough for 24 children or 18 adults. Some say 25 adults, but one web commentator remarked, “as far as I’m concerned, any more than 10 and the quaint opportunities for romance are out of the question.” (402) 768-7156.
The Thayer County Courthouse is located in Hebron. The Courthouse was constructed of Indiana limestone in the Romanesque and Gothic style in 1903. There are floor to ceiling safes located in each major office with a different artistic work painted on each safe door. Ask about the four carved faces found on the outside of the building and hear the story of the mystery related to the carvings.
The Hebron Post Office Mural was painted by Miss Eldora Lorenzini in 1939. The work was commissioned as part of the New Deal’s Public Works of Art Project and the WPA Federal Art Project which employed thousands of artists during the Great Depression. Twelve murals for 12 newly constructed post offices in Nebraska were commissioned, which Hebron was one. The work has a double signature of the artist. After it was hung the signature was nearly obscured by the molding of the frame of the office door. The artists then signed the mural in the lower left hand corner where it may be seen by the viewer.
The Arrowhead Gardens Arboretum is located on Jefferson Avenue between 7th and 8th Street. Eleven different varieties of trees, six different varieties of native grasses, and many plants may be seen in the gardens.
The 4th of July is Hebron’s annual celebration. A parade downtown, breakfast, games and activities throughout the day, food, and fireworks at the airport at dusk.
Camping is available down at the old CC Camp in the Southeast part of town, near the Little Blue River. Riverside Park in Hebron is a beautiful wooded park very near the Little Blue River. The Park has hot showers and restroom facilities available. Sewer dumping is available at a drive-thru area on the South end of the campground. The park in Hebron is often referred to as the CC Camp due to its history. The CC Camp was home of the Civil Conservation Corp during the Great Depression and then hosted German POWs during World War II.
The Hebron Municipal Swimming Pool, located about a block from Riverside Park operates generally from Memorial Day until school starts, depending upon the weather. The pool has diving boards and a nice little super slide that kids enjoy greatly. Shower facilities are available at the pool. Across from the pool, is playground equipment, ball fields and a sand volleyball playing area.
Hebron’s restaurants are Subway (402) 768-2303, Mary’s Café (402) 768- 4235, 81 Express (402) 768-2223. All the restaurants serve sandwiches with sit down meals at Mary’s Café. Hannah B’s (402) 768-8743 serves ice cream.
Hubbell is home to folk artist, Lucky Stradley. In her studio, Stradley creates functional pottery pieces with unusual faces. Stradley teaches classes both in her studio and on location.
The Sixth Principal Meridian Marker southeast of Hubbell, is the point that all land in Nebraska and Kansas, and most land in Colorado and Wyoming and parts of South Dakota was surveyed and subdivided based on one point along the sixth principal meridian. This was all done in 1856.
Hubbell celebrates Hay Days late in August. While in Hubbell, stop in and enjoy The Acreage Steakhouse (402) 324-5088, serving some of the best food around.
Alexandria State Recreation Area
4 Miles East of Alexandria, Alexandria
Alexandria State Recreation Area is a small recreation area encompassing 55 acres of land with three lakes totaling 46 acres of water. The area is fairly level with mature trees offering shade to campers. The area has primitive camping sites with 25 non-pad sites with electrical hookups and 15 non-pad sites without electricity. Campers can enjoy swimming, picnicking, fishing and wildlife viewing. Only electric fishing motor non-powered boats are allowed on the lakes which were rehabilitated in 1996. The lakes are stocked with bluegill, channel cats and largemouth bass. The area has a swimming beach and a concession area called the Snack Shack which offers groceries (food items), hot meals, ice cream, candy and bait. Parking Permit Required. There is an admission fee for the area.
Hebron Country Club Golf Course
Rural Route 2
The eighth hole on the Hebron Country Club Golf Course offers the everyday golfer the most challenge as it has been classed as the toughest hole on the course. The hole is uphill all the way and hosts a small green with an out-of-bounds behind the green. It has been called especially difficult during the summer months when it plays into the wind. The nine-hole course, which is located at the junction of U.S. Highway 136 and a paved county road (called First Street.) south of the city of Hebron, is an open, mildly rolling course. The fairways consist of a mixture of grasses. The rough is seeded and cut to a very playable height. The bent grass greens are midsize, with many having significant slope to them. The 35-par 2,927-yard course includes enough bumps and swales on some holes that it is helpful to have played the course before to know where the level spots are. The ninth hole is a pretty finishing hole with a tee shot over a shallow valley to an undulating green. Tee times are not required for the course. Carts rent for $15.00.
Hebron Post Office Mural
Hebron Post Office, 145 N. 5th Street, Hebron
The 12-foot x 4-foot mural, which depicts the scene of a corn train that left Hebron on the Rock Island Railroad on March 31, 1887, was painted by Miss Eldora Lorenzini and hung in late November 1939. The work was commissioned as part of the New Deal’s Public Works of Art Project and the WPA Federal Art Project which employed thousands of artists during the Great Depression. In 1934 the Section of Painting and Sculpture (renamed the Section of Fine Arts in 1938) was organized under the auspices of the Treasury Department to provide murals and sculptures for many federal buildings. Between 1938 and 1942 the Treasury Department’s Section of Fine Arts commissioned 12 murals for 12 newly constructed post offices in Nebraska which included the one in the Hebron post office. Lorenzini was awarded the commission in 1938 and came from her home in Colorado Springs to visit Hebron, research the history of the community and prepare her preliminary sketches. She was paid $670 for her work. An unusual facet of the work is the double signature of the artist. Apparently, Lorenzini signed the piece near the bottom. After it was hung the signature was nearly obscured by the molding of the frame of the office door. She then signed it (with large letters) in the lower left hand corner where it may be seen by the viewer.
Sixth Principal Meridian Marker
Junction of Thayer & Jefferson counties on the Kansas-Nebraska border, southeast of Hubbell on Nebraska Highway 8.
All land in Kansas and Nebraska and most of Colorado and Wyoming and part of South Dakota was surveyed and subdivided from one point–the sixth principal meridian located on the Kansas and Nebraska border on the Thayer-Jefferson County line. Visitors to the area will find a 7-foot, 10-inch high historical monument located due east of the initial point. The monument is accompanied by a plaque. Stone in the monument’s base consists of Wyoming granite intermixed with black petrified wood from Nebraska. The cap consists of Colorado red granite, and the spire was fashioned of mahogany granite from South Dakota. Each side of the monument’s capstone bears the name of one of the five sixth principal meridian states, the date of that state’s entry into the Union, and the logo of the state’s professional survey society. The initial point itself, located at the intersection of two roads, was surveyed by Colonel Charles A. Manners and a crew of 12 on June 11, 1856. What remains of Manners’ original red sandstone marker is capped by a manhole cover. The meridian was placed where a balance between the tide of settlement and the presence of Native Americans existed at the time. All legal land descriptions—all section corners, all ownership and use documents, and all city, farm, and lot boundaries within the sixth principal meridian area– originate from surveys made from this initial point.
State of Nebraska Historical Markers Throughout Thayer County
(402) 768-6845, (402) 768-7313, (402) 768-6587, (402) 768-2256 or (402) 768-2147
You can also visit these Nebraska State Historical Markers in Thayer County:
- California Trail – In Belvidere on museum grounds.
- Friedensau – U. S. Highway 136 east of Deshler.
- Bruning Air Field/Hot Air Balloon – Nebraska Highway 4 south and east of Bruning.
- Oregon Trail – U. S. Highway 81 north of Hebron.
- Oregon & Pony Express Trails – County roads in central Thayer County.
- Thayer County & Veterans Memorial – On Thayer County Courthouse grounds in Hebron on Fourth Street.
Thayer County Courthouse
North 4th Street
The Thayer County Courthouse was completed in 1903. Constructed of Indiana limestone in the Romanesque and Gothic style. It had a 100-foot tower which was destroyed in a tornado in 1953. Special attention was given to the inside construction, making it fireproof. There are floor to ceiling safes located in the corner of each major office with a different artistic work painted on each safe door. There are two mysteries of the four carved faces found on the outside of the building. One mystery is that Gutzom Borglum, sculptor of the four presidents on Mt. Rushmore, S.D., carved them or not. The other mystery is who the faces represent. Some say one was of “Big Mary,” who was a widow of a man accused of murder and lynched, who later operated a house on the west end of Hebron “where a man could quench his thirst;” another was Borglum himself; a third, the courthouse yard keeper and the fourth, a prominent Hebron businessman.
Thayer County Museum
110 9th Street, Belvidere
(402) 768-4127 or (402) 768-7313
Open 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily, except Saturday and Monday from late May to early October or anytime by appointment by calling (402) 768-7313 or (402) 768-6845 or (402) 768-6587. Has special displays of artifacts from the World War II-era Bruning Army Air base and early modern day ballooning which started in Thayer County. The museum holds many other exhibits and artifacts in 15 rooms pertaining to Thayer County history. Included in the vintage rooms are a parlor, dining room, kitchen and bedroom. There is a merchant’s hall, a school room, an “our Country” room, plus a library room for research. The museum complex also includes an Agricultural building with vintage farm machinery, tractors, buggies, Model T autos, fire trucks, a printing press, a blacksmith shop, farm tools, a moveable jail, a barn cupola and other larger items. A country school house and a Union Pacific Railroad caboose may also be explored on the museum grounds. No admission (free will offering)
World’s Largest Porch Swing
Jefferson Avenue at Roosevelt Park
The World’s Largest Porch Swing has an overhead span that is actually a subcomponent of the Reinke CornerGator, a corner watering system manufactured by Reinke Manufacturing Co. in Deshler, Neb. Originally built in 1985 and moved to its present site in 1991. Estimated capacity 16 adults, 24 children.
Rattle Snake Disc Golf Course in Deshler
Mural inside of the Hebron Post Office
Ugly mug made by potter Lucky Stradley of Hubbell.
Stone building in downtown Gilead.
Crowning of “Little Miss and Mr. Firecracker” at Hebron’s Fourth of July Celebration.
Sixth Principal Meridian (land measurement marker located southeast of Hubbell along the Nebraska-Kansas border).
Alexandria State Recreation Area sign east of Alexandria
An old bar inside of the Old Tavern Antique business in Bruning.
Red Barn holds agricultural displays on the Thayer County Museum grounds in Belevidere.
The Chester Water Tower,
Chester is the “Barn Quilt Village” of Thayer County
Historical poster from the old Deshler Broom Factory, one of the nation’s largest.
Center irrigation system which is manufactured west of Deshler.
Thayer County Courthouse in Hebron.