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Nebraska County Countdown 40: Pierce County

Matt Herian, stealing a precinct, and visit the Klown Doll Museum, if you dare.

pierce county veterans memorial in front of courthouse
Veteran’s Memorial in front of the Pierce County courthouse.

Welcome to the rolling hills of northeast Nebraska. The county was formed in 1859 and named after President Franklin Pierce. The county seat is Pierce (convenient, huh?) and population (2010) is 7,266.

In addition to the city of Pierce, you will also find Osmond, Plainview, Hadar, McLean, and Foster. If you include unincorporated “communities” then Breslau and Wee Town also need to be included. Regretfully, one can no longer clog their arteries on ginormous burgers and heaping baskets of fries as Wee Town has been closed for several years. I do, however, recommend visiting Jerry’s Hilltop near the junction of Highways 81 and 20, especially on Prime Rib night (Thursday) or during their Oktoberfest buffet.

cattle in pasture and dramatic blue sky with clouds Jill Heemstra

Pierce County was also home to the first winery in the state, Cuthills Vineyards, which closed in 2017. You now have to enjoy Swanson-made wines at Capital View Winery in Lincoln. Nearby is the 1600 acre Willow Creek Recreation Area. In addition to camping, fishing, and canoeing/kayaking, visitors may be lucky enough to see eagles flying around the area.

Visitors to Plainview can check out the Klown Doll Museum or participate in the annual Klown Days each summer.

Foster no longer has a school, but when it did, the team mascot was the Foster Frogs. Due to its location on bottom ground that is sub-irrigated in many areas, the name fit perfectly.

From the Virtual Nebraska website:

The northeast precinct of Pierce County, which now contains the Village of McLean, was annexed from neighboring Cedar County. When Pierce County was organized, some county officials went to Lincoln to request the change. When Cedar County’s people learned of the “theft,” they attempted to have the matter reversed, but to no avail. A state law was enacted, however, prohibiting such shenanigans in the future.

spectacular sunrise in purple and pink
Pierce County has beautiful sunrises
Jill Heemstra

Husker trivia related to 40:

Famous Huskers to hail from Pierce County - Matt Herian was an all Big Twelve tight end who played for the Huskers from 2003-06. You can revisit the Big Red Cobcast’s interview of Herian here. I’m sure I’m missing someone - do you have any names of Pierce County natives that played for the Big Red?

  • Current Huskers wearing #40 - Grant Jordan (ILB) and Brandon Robbins (WR) are both Nebraska natives.
  • Who wore it best? Cory Schlesinger made the fullback trap into every Husker fan’s favorite play.
  • The 2017 Huskers rallied furiously in the final quarter to erase a 12-point deficit to Purdue and win the game in the final seconds....despite only posting 40 yards rushing (as a team).
  • Alex Henery kicked a 57 yard field goal (school record) in 2008 vs Colorado, putting the Huskers ahead late in the game in what would be a 40-31 Husker victory.