Phelps County, NE

Phelps CountyThe history of the plains can still be felt as one travels from the high fertile plains around Holdrege to the rolling hills and canyons west of Atlanta, north to the wide, tree-lined Platte River and southeast to the Sacramento Wildlife Management Area.

The historical marker on the Phelps County Courthouse lawn gives a brief history of Phelps County; The great immigrant roads to the west which followed the Platte River brought the first settlers to this area. Beginning in the late 1850s, these frontiersmen operated stage stations, road ranches and trading posts. An August attack upon a wagon train in northwestern Phelps County, known as the Plum Creek Massacre, was the initial incident of the Indian War of 1864.

Phelps county was organized on April 23, 1873, with the northern town of Williamsburg being named the county seat. The seat of government was moved to Phelps Center in 1879 and again to Holdrege, its present location, in 1883. Early settlers, lured by government homestead lands and cheap railroad lands, were mainly of Swedish descent. Excellence in education, religion and agriculture was their goal, as it is today.

This area is credited with one of the world's largest underground water supplies. The Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, headquartered in Holdrege, operates the largest surface water irrigation project in Nebraska, providing direct and supplemental irrigation, hydroelectric generation, recreation and wildlife habitat benefits to Nebraska.

Explore Phelps County

Bronze Sculpture

Greeting visitors to Holdrege is the beautiful 12' bronze sculpture, "Promise of the Prairie", by native artist, George Lundeen. It is a promise for today and tomorrow; The promise that living in Phelps County is a good life with room to grow and laugh and love.

Holdrege, NE Arts

Phelps County Wildlife Preserves

March is the peak month for viewing waterfowl at all of the wildlife preserves. At the Funk Lagoon you may see more than 500,000 ducks and geese per day, and over 20

Holdrege, NE Wildlife Refuges

WWII German POW Interpretive Center

The feature that sets Nebraska Prairie Museum apart from other museums is its unique POW display. German POW's were housed at Camp Atlanta during W.W. II. These prisoners told stories of their exceptional treatment and lifelong friendships that developed through the adversity of war.

Holdrege, NE Museums

C B & Q Depot

The Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy (C B & Q) Railroad depot was built in 1910. Also known as Ironhorse Station, the depot, listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Holdrege, NE Railroad History

City Auditorium

With the building of the city auditorium in 1916

Holdrege, NE Historic Buildings


City parks comprise 65 acres with an olympic size heated swimming pool, playground equipment, and a 12-acre lake for fishing and boating, picnic areas, and lovely walking paths.

Holdrege, NE Recreation

Explore Phelps County