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 Lutheran services ever conducted in Wahoo were in 1880. They were conducted by Rev. Nels Nordling, pastor of Edensburg church of Malmo and were held in the N.J. Anderson photography gallery. On December 25, 1883 the Swedes organized the present congregation. Lots 4, 5, and 6Wahoo, 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
The religious work done by the circuit riders in the 1860s and early 1870s which included Rev. C.W. Comstock and Rev. M.M. Smith laid the foundation for Methodism in the South Platte Mission, which included all of Saunders County except Ashland. In the spring of 1872Wahoo, NE Historic Churches
In the early1900s the old courthouse building became inadequate which led to the construction of a new building. In 1903 a vote was held for the issuing of bonds and the construction of a proper kind of building for county purposes. It passed by a vote of 1,967 to 524Wahoo, NE Historic Courthouses
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