Sharing memories of Plasi

Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 1:30 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Many small towns no longer exist, but often the church still remains. That can be said for the former village of Plasi near Prague.

From Highway 79, you can see the Catholic church at Plasi in the distance. It’s the site of a former village that started around 1867.

“Catholic people from Czechoslovakia settled in this area, so it was predominately Catholics,” local historian Eugene Kremlacek said. “The village itself was located on the east side of the cemetery, and in 1890, it had a population of 40. Now, there is no sign of the buildings today.”

Local historians say the village of Plasi ceased to exist around 1900. “And the main reason for that was, the railroad never came here,” Kremlacek said. “Because there was no railroad, the village more or less died out. The church survived forever here. This property was bought from the Union Pacific Railroad for $120.”

For long-time parishioners like Leonard Snitily and Lucille Kremlacek, there are plenty of memories at the beloved church. “‘This is my lifetime parish,” Lucille said. She says for a long time, English was not the language spoken at the church. “The Czech language was spoken here for services until one of the boys came back from the service and had a woman that didn’t speak Czech,” Lucille said. “Slowly, we graduated from the Czech language in sermons to English.”

Czech songs are still used for special events. Leonard says he can remember church dinners in the summer and fall, and the huge outdoor dance floor that stood near these trees. “They had a platform, which was built maybe two feet off the ground,” he said. Leonard says the platform was left out all winter, and polished in the spring. “They would take a Model T pickup and pull a square bale on it, and the would polish out the floor.” There are memories of hamburgers and food being served from a building that still stands near the church. Beer was even served. “They had a bar and you could be served off the platform,” Leonard said. “The men, usually the men, drank beer. And, beer was 5 cents a glass or 10 cents a glass.’

Parishioners can also recall tragic events. The first church built here burned down in 1901. It was rebuilt. Then in 1914, lighting hit the church steeple, and the steeple was replaced. Then on a hot day in August of 1934, the church was destroyed by fire. “And it’s believed that a candle left lit here in the church, melted itself over and ignited the papers underneath, and the church burned to the ground,” Kremlacek said. “We could see it from our farmstead which was a mile away, we could see it burning,” Leonard said. “I was a little over three years old. And I remember it.”

The church honors their own, as a monument for Leonard’s brother stands out front. He was killed in action in World War II. Things are changing. The rectory has been moved. “It was sold for $1,000, and it’s being moved to Wahoo,” Kremlacek said. But parishioners’ names are still familiar. “The names in the community are much the same as they have been,” Lucille said. “It’s the younger generation that lives here now. In fact, my great grandchildren are the eighth generation.”

You can bet the good feelings parishioners have about this old church will never change. “I received my confirmation here, I got married here and I will be buried here. It’s home,” Lucille said. “It’s a place of worship, and it means a lot,” Leonard said.

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