clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Nebraska County Countdown: #11 Otoe County

The home of people who live in Otoe County

While it didn’t leap frog Cass County for the best looking courthouse in the state, it might be second to this point. 8/10.

Also, yesterday was Knox County. That courthouse looks like an old elementary school building. Do better Knox County. Do better.

Established in 1854, Otoe County was named after the Otoe Tribe. The chief of the Otoe Tribe was Ar-Ke-Kee-Tah which means “Tribal Guardian.”

Arbor Day

J. Sterling Morton was known to give speeches. Two years before the start of the Civil War he parked a farm wagon in the shade of an oak tree and delivered his first speech. He said “You, the farmers of Nebraska are its prime architects and its master workmen.”

14 years later he gave another speech that supposedly lasted three hours to a state fair audience in Lincoln. J. Sterling Morton ended up being one of the founders of Arbor Day. It is the state’s tree planting holiday established in 1872.

The first home of J. Sterling and Garoline Morton was a log cabin in Bellevue. Then they built a frame home in Nebraska City sometime between 1855 and 1858.

What you see today, known as the Arbor Lodge, was built by Morton’s son on the site of his parents’ house. The family donated the neoclassical mansion to the state to preserve it as a monument to their parents.

Is Arbor Day a big deal? Well around here it is for some. There are many institutions including banks, government buildings and possibly schools that are closed for Arbor Day.

I thought I remembered hearing that some schools were closed for it but I could be wrong. Somebody could let me know in the comments?

Mayhew Cabin, Historic Village and John Brown Cave

As one of Nebraska’s oldest structures, the Mayhew Cabin is the only existing Nebraska building known to have harbored abolitionists and possibly fugitive slaves. The National Park Service lists the cabin on its Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

There is more there than just the cabin. It’s an opportunity to go back into time.

Applejack Festival

The festival is in Nebraska City each September and brings thousands of visitors to the city and apple orchards. In 1917, the University of Nebraska selected an 80-acre parcel near Union to establish a demonstration farm to show the possibility of developing commercial orchards. The NU farm was sold in 1961 and has become a commercial orchard.


Cities: Nebraska City (county seat) and Syracuse

Villages: Burr, Douglas, Dunbar, Lorton, Otoe, Palmyra, Talmage and Unadilla

Census-designated place: Woodland Hills

Husker Stuff

Greatest Huskers to Wear #11: Matt Herian, Neil Harris, Terry Luck, and Jeff Quinn

Other Notables to Wear #11: Cethan Carter, Matt Turman,

Current Huskers Wearing #11: Austin Allen (TE), Matt Masker (QB) and Vaha Vainuku (DL)

What’d I miss?