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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

Pony Express Station

The Sam Machette Station was used as an early fur trading post/ranch house along the Oregon Trail southwest of Gothenburg before it was used as a Pony Express station during its operation between April 1860 and November 1861

Gothenburg, NE Pony Express

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

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

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

Things to do near Gothenburg, NE

Mowry Bluff Historic Site

National Historic Register - Mowry Bluff is a small Upper Republican Phase hamlet occupied during the twelfth century ...

McConaughy's Winter Activities

Winter sees ice boaters on the lake, and skaters and skiers and backpackers. so its role as a recreation area is pretty much ...