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Holdrege, Nebraska

Holdrege, Nebraska

It was a cold, windy October in 1883 when Holdrege was born.

Early settlers in Phelps County were primarily of Swedish descent. Though many came directly from Sweden, the majority moved here from Swedish settlements in Illinois. There were no trees in Holdrege when the Swedes came. The Swedes, recalling wooded hills of Scandinavia, found the barren prairie land strange and windswept. They immediately planted trees and set them in straight rows. That pattern of straightness leaves its imprint on Holdrege today.

Holdrege became the "Magic City of the Plains," a name well deserved, as before the end of December, when the first train whistled into town, 132 substantial buildings were in place. Another rail line west from Holdrege, the "High Line," was started in 1885 and ran to Cheyenne, while in 1886, the Holdrege to Kansas City line called the "Polly" was completed.

Holdrege, named for George W. Holdrege, general manager of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad Company, was incorporated as a village in 1884, and in three years boasted a population of over 2,000.

In 1995, Holdrege was selected No. 38 of the 100 best small towns in America with a population of 5,000 to 15,000 by Norm Crampton, author of "Best 100 Small Towns in America." Holdrege is blessed with wide-open spaces, tons of fresh air, a generous and safe water supply. Adding that to a heritage of hard work and strong spiritual values all adds up to a "Genuine Nebraska Town" that truly provides THE GOOD LIFE!

Attractions and Upcoming Events


Eagle Viewing

The bald eagle has always captured the attention of Americans, so much so that in 1782 the Continental Congress chose the eagle as the national bird and the centerpiece for the nation's Great Seal. Over the years, the bald eagle acquired its status as a symbol of freedom and of the United States.

Holdrege, NE Birdwatching


Nebraska Prairie Museum

The Nebraska Prairie Museum contains an exceptionally fine collection of over one acre of indoor exhibits. Explore every aspect of life on the prairie and uncover surprises around every corner. Be one of the many visitors who exclaim, "This is the finest museum I have ever visited."

Holdrege, NE Museums


Things to do near Holdrege, NE

Sherman Fishing

Fishing and power boating are the mainstays of this central Nebraska reservoir. Rugged drainage ways branch off the main rese...

Red Smoke Historic Site

National Historic Register - Red Smoke is one of three Paleo-Indian Tradition sites excavated following World War II ...

Fisher Fountain

Popular local attraction with ever changing computerized nightly displays of illuminated water....