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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

First Presbyterian Church

In August of 1904, the ground on which the church now stands was purchased for the sum of $450. Ground was broken in August 1905 and the original building was competed in early 1907. At that time, the total cost of the building was $5,650. The beautiful stain glass windows are original.

Gothenburg, NE Historic Churches


City Parks

Gothenburg has four parks covering 55 acres. Facilities include swings, picnic areas, pool, athletic fields, football stadium, ball parks, camping areas, and playground equipment. Two playgrounds in Gothenburg have all types of playground equipment. Lafayette Park:

Gothenburg, NE RV Parks

Historic Depot

In the years from 1863 to 1868 the railroad had become a certainty. During the five year period, the first operations of mapping, surveying, setting telegraph poles and planning the roadbed had been completed. The railroad through this territory was completed in 1868

Gothenburg, NE Railroad History

Things to do near Gothenburg, NE

Hitchcock County Musuem

The Hitchcock County Museum invites you to travel throughout a complex of six buildings furnished with artifacts that histori...

Pike-Pawnee Village and Historical Marker

Occupied from 1770 to about 1810 or later, the Pike-Pawnee National Historic Landmark has been the subject of intense...

Lake McConaughy Hunting

Come fall, when campers, water skiers, swimmers, sailboaters and most fishermen have abandoned the lake, Big Mac becomes wate...

Coufal Ridge Site

National Historic Landmark - Sometime between A.D. 1250 and A.D. 1450, prehistoric Indians of the Itskari Phase establ...