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Nebraska County Countdown #59: Sarpy County and a Nuclear Apocalypse

Fireworks won’t be the only thing to brighten your day on July 4th

A few years ago I read Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank. Below is a quick synopsis of the book.

“Alas, Babylon.” Those fateful words heralded the end. When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness.

Where was the nuclear blast that “ravaged” the United States in Alas, Babylon? Why it was good ole Sarpy County Nebraska. In particular, it was Offutt Air Force Base.

Good thing this is just a work of fiction. There is no reason to worry right? Wrong. Almost a year ago the Washington Post published “Where is North Korea trying to hit?”

Lewis believe these sites are the real targets, because they all have a legitimate military purpose. Other analysts add Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, home to U.S. Strategic Command, and Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, the point of origin for nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers.

So I know what you’re thinking. Would you be safe if a nuclear bomb was detonated over Sarpy County? Well luckily somebody created this website that would estimate the damage done by detonation anywhere on the globe.

From what I can tell, if you live west of Papillion then you should be safe.

Speaking of Papillion, it just so happens to be the county seat of Sarpy County.

Lewis and Clark explore parts of the county which was later settled by fur traders, farms and other business-minded folk. If they were forward thinking enough, they would have made it illegal to put an Air Force base in their own backyard!

In fact the name “Sarpy” is from Colonel Peter Sarpy who was a fur trader. He died in 1865.

Sarpy County is made up of the following cities/towns/agencies/villages/teams/clans:

Bellevue, Gretna, La Vista, Papillion, Springfield, Chalco, La Platte, Offutt Air Force Base, Richfield, Avery, Gilmore, Gilmore Junction, Meadow, Melia and Portal

Fun Facts:

  • The population of Sarpy county increased by over 100% between 1960-1970. That should be considered a mass migration.
  • Sarah Rose Summers who won Miss USA 2018 is from Papillion.
  • It is currently (as of 2010) the third most populous county in Nebraska. Around 1920 it must have been close to 59th most populous (then went by cars but you get the point) in the state. So if you ever wonder if you could improve, remember how far Sarpy county has come in under 90 years.

Places to Go, Places to See

  1. Holy Family Shrine Catholic Church - Anybody who drives I-80 as often as I do has probably seen the beautiful shrine on the top of the hill. It is beautiful and it is free. I suggest checking it out.
  2. Ak-sar-ben Aquarium Outdoor Eduction Center at Schramm Park. One of of a number of state parks in the area that most people don’t seem to know about. I would name a couple more but they will have to wait until I get to Cass County (likely the greatest county in Nebraska’s history).
  3. Chalco Hills Recreation Area at Wehrspann Lake. It is huge. 1,186 acres of which 246 acres is covered by Wehrspann Lake. Tons to do there. I think there is also a dog park.
  4. Fontenelle Park. I’ve never been but I will soon. “Enjoy 1,400 acres of woods, wetlands and waterways along 19 miles of walking trails, including two all-access boardwalks. In the Nature Center, discover hands-on exhibits and live animal displays.”

Husker Stuff

From what I can tell the best Husker player to wear #59 is Josh Heskew in 1995. I could definitely be wrong so let me know. It is not the easiest thing to research.

From what I can tell there are no players on the current roster wearing #59.

In 1959 a Bill Jennings coached Nebraska Football team went 4-6. It was at that time a member of the Big Seven Conference. That is not a typo. I had never heard of the Big Seven Conference until now.

Bill Jennings went on to be replaced by several coaches throughout the history of the program which all led to the hiring of Scott Frost.

Facts that Matter

In 1997, a Scott Frost led team beat Akron by the score of 59-14. See that? 59! It is relevant! Oh and who do the Huskers play this coming season in Scott Frost’s first game as head coach? You got it. Akron.

Current Players From Sarpy County: Jaylin Bradley, Mick Stoltenberg, Austin Hemphill, Joseph Johnson, Cade Mueller, A.J. Forbes and Brandon Robbins.

What did I miss? Probably a whole bunch of stuff. Let me know.