Our Town Holdrege: Nebraska Prairie Museum

The City of Holdrege was founded back in 1883, just prior to the arrival of the first train on a newly-built railroad track pushing it's way west.

The city was named in honor of a railroad superintendent named George Holdrege. And I'm quite certain George would have been impressed with the museum that now displays the history of Holdrege.

Dan Christensen is the executive director at the Nebraska Prairie Museum and he says visitors are always pleasantly surprised when they first walk through the doors, "People can't believe how far back it goes. They see it from the highway and it looks like a grain storage, steel building and when they come in they go and go and go and they can't believe how big it is."

Inside the spacious Nebraska Praire Museum, you'll find 65,000 square feet of memorabilia that tell the story of Holdrege and Phelps County.

Dan describes his favorite part of the museum, "This is a representation of the downtown streets in Holdrege and the stores which actually have things in them that were in those stores downtown."

There is also a very patriotic portion of the museum, "This is our military display, we like to honor our veterans. Every Veteran's Day we have big veterans breakfast and we introduce all of our veterans in the Phelps County area that come to that breakfast."

The newest exhibit in the museum is a WWII German POW interpretive center, "Little known to most people that there were German prisoners of war that came all the way out here on the train to the middle of America to be in a prison camp." Dan says, 11,000 German prisoners went through this camp near Holdrege during WWII, "It was like a city, there were many barracks and we fed them and actually took good care of them and many of them came back to America to live because they were treated so well."