Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wandering Southeastern Nebraska (#3)

Continuing with our brief visit to Auburn Nebraska, the County Seat of Nemaha County Nebraska…

The Nemaha County Courthouse is at 1814 “N” Street in Auburn.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t photograph very well because the building is surrounded by roughly 30 big trees. 

Nemaha County was initially organized in 1855 with Brownville as the county seat. Located on the Missouri River, Brownville served as an early important point for westward immigration.  However, the growing importance of railroad transportation and increasing county settlement inland soon led to a change of focus and, in 1885, Auburn became the new County Seat.  Between 1885 and 1900 the county rented the first courthouse, which was just a modest wood frame building.  In 1889 county residents approved a bond issue for a new courthouse.  Construction began that same year and in 1900 this Richardsonian Romanesque-style courthouse opened for business.


·       Charles Hiram Randall was the only person ever to be elected to the United States Congress as a member of the Prohibitionist Party.  He was born in Auburn on July 23, 1865.

This is the 130 year old Reed House which is located at 1204 “N” Street in Auburn.  This 2-story brick home was built by Wilber T. Reed in 1884-1885.  He went with the Italianate style, which was popular at that time.  Reed moved to Auburn from Ohio.  His grocery and general merchandise store was important to the early settlers of central and western Nemaha County.

Photos from 1968 showed that this home was beginning to deteriorate.  A new owner has refurbished the house and the difference is remarkable.  To see comparative photos, you can go to and scroll down to the bottom of the document…


·       Nemaha County was the core of the “Nemaha Half-Breed Reservation” which was formed in the Treaty of Prairie du Chien in 1830.  It was intended to provide land for the offspring of traders and Native Americans.  Under the patrilineal systems of the Omaha and Osage, children of white fathers had no place in the tribes.  At the same time, the European-American majority of the United States considered the children to be Native American…because of their mothers.

This is Brownville Nebraska’s former Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad’s combination passenger and freight depot.  It has been moved to a small city park at the corner of US Hwy. 136 and Water Street.  It is now referred to as the Brownville Depot and Railroad History Museum.

This well preserved 1875 railroad depot and a relatively recent Burlington Route caboose combine to focus on the history of the relationship between the railroad and the town.  The Brownville Historical Society appears to be very active and they are responsible for several properties around town.  To learn more, go to

The railroad first came to Brownville on February 1st, 1875.  The first train arrived over the Midland Railroad from Nebraska City.  The train reached Brownville about 11 AM, with a large delegation of prominent Nebraskans on board.  Hundreds of people from the area gathered on the levee to see the train arrive.  Almost every business was closed for this occasion with everyone making a holiday of it! 

I’m not sure how I feel about this bridge across the Missouri River.  I like history…but I’m not so sure about big and long 75 year old bridges!  This cantilever through truss steel bridge is 1,904 feet long with 2 - 420 foot long spans.  The Brownville Bridge cost $708,878.54 to build in 1939…about $24 million in 2013 dollars.

Atchison County, Missouri on the east bank of the river, initiated the planning for this bridge, located near Brownville, Nebraska.  Construction was completed by October 1939.  Atchison County operated the bridge as a toll crossing to repay its bondholders and cover maintenance expenses.  Eventually the bonds were paid off and the bridge is now owned and maintained by the state of Missouri as a free crossing.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. We've crossed a couple of bridges in the RV that I wasn't too sure about either.

  2. Love the colors on the little depot and the Reed house. For some reason the Reed house reminds me a little of New Orleans architecture.