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Nebraska County Countdown: 52 - Kearney Or Kearny - Take Your Pick

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Carny? Karnee? I never realized this was so confusing.

A nice looking courthouse in Minden, Nebraska. A place where you might not feel bad being sentenced for a crime.

Hey, did you guys know there is a Kearney County in Nebraska that is a completely different place than the city of Kearney?

It’s true!

I probably knew this at one point, then I forgot, so I signed up to cover Kearney County when I really wanted to write about the city of Kearney. I realize I shouldn’t admit such simple mistakes as they may make me look like a boob, but I feel that we’ve all gotten to know each other well enough and the vast majority of you are the forgiving type.

Kearney County was named after Fort Kearny. Here’s what wikipedia has to say about Fort Kearny:

The outpost was located along the Oregon Trail near Kearney, Nebraska. The town of Kearney took its name from the fort. The “e” was added to Kearny by postmen who consistently misspelled the town name.

I know more than a little bit about the consistent misspelling of a name. Consider me, Jon Johnston. You have no idea of how many times I am referred to as John Johnston. Or John Johnson. It took the first computer magazine I wrote for six months to spell my name correctly on my columns. Now that I’m older, people call me “Sir” a lot more often, and I have to admit that it bothers me quite a bit. Whatever happened to terms of endearment, such as “shithead” or “douchebag”? It’s no wonder I’m becoming more bitter in my old age. “Sir”, indeed.

Fort Kearny was named after Brigade General Stephen W. Kearny, who, according to Wikipedia:

was one of the foremost antebellum frontier officers of the United States Army. He is remembered for his significant contributions in the Mexican–American War, especially the conquest of California.

Kearney County was formed in 1860, just before the Civil War. The county seat is in Minden. As of 2010, there were 6,489 people in the county.

Take a moment to look at the courthouse in Minden. It’s in the National Register of Historic Places. It looks like a real courthouse. It looks like a place you could feel good about going to to pay a fine, buy a license, or get sentenced for a crime. You might say to yourself, “At least I get to be sentenced in this fine building and not that glorified outhouse in Stockville”.

Fort Kearney is another Historic Place. Notice the “e”. How many hours of meetings do you suppose were spent arguing the existence of that “e”, when the original fort did not have it?

Dobytown is a ghost town in Kearney County. It consists of this sign.

Originally named Kearney City, people settled on the more common name of Dobytown because most of the buildings were made from adobe. The city was abandoned around 1871 when Fort Kearny was abandoned because they had this newfangled invention called the “Union Pacific Railroad” came through. Everyone moved to Kearney, the city.

One of Dobytown’s most famous visitors, General William Tecumseh Sherman described the horrible whiskey he was served there as tanglefoot. The phrase “tanglefoot” must be some kind of insult no one has passed down through the ages.

This should not be confused with Doobytown which was near North Platte. Doobytown was known for its progressive marijuana laws, attracting stoners from all walks of life throughout the midwest.

You can’t mention Minden without mentioning Pioneer Village, which is a massive collection of history. You can spend days there (I only spent hours). There are 28 buildings on 20 acres.

You can see a priceless steam carousel, 17 historic flying machines and marvel at 100 antique tractors. See the world’s oldest Buick, a 1902 Cadillac and a 1903 Ford, both designed by Henry Ford, plus 350 other antique cars, all displayed in their order of development.

My brother Jim was particularly fascinated by the cars.

Husker Stuff!

  • The 1952 Nebraska football team was coached by Bill Glassford. They finished 5-4-1 after starting the season 4-0. It was the best start in many years, and it was credited to Glassford’s installation of a “spread offense”. I’ll let you read more about a 1950s spread offense right here.
  • Bobby Reynolds was on the 1952 team. He was a First-Team All-American in 1950, but injuries, including a broken leg, and “lime in the eye” caused him problems. They used lime to mark the lines on the field. Can you believe that?
  • This year’s #52 is AJ Forbes, a freshman offensive lineman from Bellevue, Nebraska.
  • The 2018 Spring Media Guide states there are 52 Lettermen returning this season.
  • Nebraska has beaten 2018 opponent Colorado while scoring 52 points twice. In 1978, the Huskers won 52-14. In 1992, it was 52-7, when both the Huskers and Buffaloes were ranked and it looked like Nebraska would go on a roll to finish the season. Then we go into Ames and lose. I tear down the goalposts along with drunken Iowa State students after it becomes the only loss by Tom Osborne to an unranked team.