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Saunders County, NE

Saunders County

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

Historic Hanson House

This simplified Queen Anne dwelling was built about 1888 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house is the childhood home of Dr. Howard Hanson from 1896-1917

Wahoo, NE National Register

Memorial Torpedo

Displayed on the front lawn of the Saunders County Courthouse is the only submarine memorial in the United States, a World War II torpedo dedicated to the serviceman of the war.

Wahoo, NE Memorials

Willow Point Gallery

Visit the Gallery and Museum that people are talking about. Mentioned

Ashland, NE Arts

Historic Driving Tour

Take your own personal tour down beautifully tree-lined streets, graced with lovely older homes and buildings. The Wahoo Chamber and Economic Development has printed a self-guided brochure listing 15

Wahoo, NE Tours


Oak Creek Trailhead

A corridor once used by the Union Pacific Railroad, the Oak Creek Trail is now part of the American Discovery Trail route through Nebraska. The 12

Valparaiso, NE Trails

Bethlehem Lutheran Church

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 6

Wahoo, NE Historic Churches

National Bank of Ashland - NHR

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 1947

Ashland, NE National Register

First United Methodist Church

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 1872

Wahoo, NE Historic Churches

Saunders County Courthouse

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 524

Wahoo, NE Historic Courthouses

First Christian Church (DOC)

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 1884

Ashland, NE Churches

Valparaiso Library

The library occupies the building that originally housed the Oak Creek Valley Bank from 1907 to 1980

Valparaiso, NE Libraries

Explore Saunders County