For many years, Saunders County had drawn people with its offer of a better life. The Otoe and Pawnee Indians followed the buffalo into this area and settled along its rivers and streams. Before the arrival of settlers, a Pawnee Indian village,
containing 50 or more lodges covering a four-block
area, was located in what is now the southeast part of
Wahoo. In the vicinities of Cedar Bluffs, Leshara, and Yutan there are other historic sites of early Pawnee and Otoe Indian villages.
The earliest settlers were predominantly Czech, German, and Scandinavians whose hard work, determination, and ingenuity turned their dreams into realities. The Ox-Bow Trail traversing across Saunders County is historically marked by one of the twin rocks that the Mormon travelers and other pioneers used as an identifying point along their journey west. In Ashland, built along the Ox-Bow Trail, the Beetison home is still in family ownership since its construction in 1874.
As the railroad came to the area, towns sprang up in the county with business, schools and churches to serve the area's growing needs. The Saunders County Historical Society invites you to relive the rich heritage of Saunders County at the museum in Wahoo, the county seat.
Explore Saunders County
The first group of Czech settlers to come to the vicinity of Wahoo arrived in August of 1874. These settlers, who were of the Catholic faith, had to travel 15 to 20 miles in order to attend mass. For three years these settlers traveled to Plasi, Fremont or Abie to attend services. Finally in 1877Wahoo, NE Historic Churches
The two-story brick and stone commercial building, which was constructed in 1889 in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, was designed by the architectural firm of I. and I. Hodgson, Jr., with offices in Omaha and Portland, Oregon. Between 1889 and 1947Ashland, NE National Register
Opened in September 1996 on the site of an old limestone quarry, this 18-hole, championship course is considered the state's most beautiful and challenging course. Carved out of a forest, the 7,000-yard layout, with steep, sloping fairways, uses a quarry as a water hazard.
"Ashland, NE Recreation
The First Congregational Church was organized at Eldred, 12 miles northeast of Wahoo. Rev. Mr. Giddings was the preacher for both Eldred and Wahoo. The organizational meeting was headed by Rev. J.E. Heaton and took place on May 28, 1871. In 1880, a church was erected on the southeast corner of 5Wahoo, NE Historic Churches
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church is a fine example of Gothic Revival architecture. Board and batten construction adds to its individuality, and the building has undergone only minor alterations since its construction in 1872. Listed on the National Register of Historic PlacesAshland, NE Historic Churches
Many of the homes in Ashland carry a legacy of their own with some residences dating back over 100 years, and a majority of these are still lived in. One of these historic homes is over 135 years old and is still lived in without much visible change in its exterior appearance. In 1864Ashland, NE Historic Homes
The Israel Beetison House is one of the finest examples of the Italianate style in Nebraska, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The residence was constructed in 1874-75 of locally quarried limestone by the Dalton Brothers,Ashland, NE National Register
L.C. Barrow and D. R. Dungan, prominent evangelists of the early 1880's, were instrumental in establishing the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Ashland, Nebraska. This little band of Christians met in different homes or other availbale places until 1884Ashland, NE Churches