Remembering Rescue

Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 10:55 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - In the former village of Rescue, only a few crumbling buildings remain. But, fond memories of a time gone by linger on as well.

Donna Dvorak remembers growing up in the village of Rescue. Her Dad, Anton, came here in 1913 with her grandparents. “At the time there were 24 people here, that was the population,” Dvorak said. “Later on, it was 26.”

Local historians say the town was a busy place in the early 1900′s. “The town would really be busting on weekends, and this town would fill up full of people,” Eugene Kremlacek said. “It was like coming to Wal Mart.” One of the buildings that still stands in Rescue is the old general store. “You could buy anything there,” Dvorak said. “Groceries, dry goods, furniture, phonographs, foot wear, paint, tools, anything a hardware store would have.”

There were other buildings, too. One called the hall, was recently torn down due to a crumbling foundation. “Dad said in 1913, there was a painted sign on the glass front of the hall, the saloon, and it said Marick Saloon,” Dvorak said. “That was probably no doubt the last licensed saloon before prohibition.” Across the railroad tracks, there was a train depot, and even a grain elevator. Both no longer exist. “There was a passenger train that went east every morning to Schuyler, and then late in the evening it went back,” Dvorak said. “There was a freight train that went west every morning and back in the afternoon.” In 1932, the elevator burned down, and that was the end of the elevator business in the community. By 1940, electricity came to Rescue. That was a big improvement for Donna Dvorak’s dad and his auto repair business. “When electricity was brought here, that really helped Tony Wirka out a lot, because then he could do welding and all of that necessary repair work for the local people,” Kremlacek said. Wirka was able to maintain the business until 1948. It was the last business in town.

As it turns out, the railroad played a big role in the prosperity of Rescue, and it played a role in its demise. “When the railroad got abandoned, in about 1933, the town pretty much went downhill,” Kremlacek said. In 1942, the railroad bed was declared a gravel road. It’s a road you can still travel today. “There are still a lot of people who drive by really slow, curious people,” Rescue resident Mike Dvorak said. Mike Dvorak is Donna’s son. His uncle who passed away, used to live in the only house in Rescue. Now, Mike and his wife Steph will live here. “We are really excited to keep Rescue in our family,” Mike Dvorak said. “Knowing that my mom grew up out here makes it even more exciting to live here and carry on the Rescue name in our family.”

It’s sort of a new beginning for what some might call and old ghost town. “Rescue, they call it a ghost town,” Kremlacek said. “But I don’t know, I don’t think there are any ghosts in this town.” No ghotsts, but there are plenty of great memories in Rescue of good times gone by. “It was a fun place to live,” Donna Dvorak said..

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