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Gothenburg, Nebraska

Gothenburg, Nebraska

Gothenburg was founded in the late 1800s, by Olaf Bergstrom, a worker with the Union Pacific Railroad. The Union Pacific Railroad was expanding westward and settlements were springing up. Bergstrom chose a farmstead north of the townsite and traveled back to Sweden to convince his fellow countrymen to migrate to Nebraska to build a new town in the west. Along with the Swedes, many Germans and Danes settled in the area, as is evidenced by the name Gothenburg. The town was named for Goteborg, Sweden, but was given a German spelling by railroad officials. By July of 1885, Gothenburg was incorporated as a town with a population of 300.

Gothenburg was one of the first towns between Omaha and Denver to have electricity. Lake Helen was constructed on the north edge of town in 1891 to generate electricity which encouraged several industries and factories to locate in Gothenburg in the 1890s. Lake Helen was the largest man made lake in Nebraska at that time. Electricity brought an industrial boom, followed by agricultural redirection, which became the town's economic mainstay.

In recent years, on the centennial of Lake Helen's construction, Gothenburg was named All-America City by the National Civic League. In 1993, Gothenburg helped Dawson County achieve All-America City status. Dawson County is the only county in Nebraska to win this distinction.

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Veterans' War Memorial

Located on the west shore of Lake Helen, this memorial is a reminder of sacrifices made by veterans and their families of all wars. The names listed commemorate local residents who gave their lives. World War I:

Gothenburg, NE Memorials


Ernest A. Calling House

Ernest A. Calling, a pioneer businessman of Gothenburg, hired L.J. Anderson to build this distinctive Queen Anne style home in 1907. Born in Klipp, Sweden, in 1870, Calling emigrated to the United States in 1889

Gothenburg, NE National Register

The Sun Theatre

The Sun Theatre was built and used as an opera house from 1909-1926. In 1927, the theatre was opened by Glen VanWey. Children were charged 10 cents and adults 20 cents for silent movies accompanied by an orchestra. The 1930

Gothenburg, NE Theatres

Lake Helen

Foresighted citizens approved a bond issue in 1889 for construction of a 12

Gothenburg, NE Recreation

Things to do near Gothenburg, NE

Midway Stage Station

The Midway Stage Pony Express station still stands on its original location on the Oregon Trail at the Lower 96 Ranch four mi...

Rated Bird Watching

The Chicken Dance Trail opens in new window http://www.chickendancetrail.com This part of Nebraska is one of the richest bi...

Lovitt Historical Site

Between A.D. 1675-1725 Apache peoples known as the Dismal River Complex (and related to populations in the southwest, eastern...