Our Town Lexington: Local History
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The community of Lexington has a unique past, including the fact that it was once known as Plum Creek.
We caught up with Crystal Werger, who is the director of the Dawson County Historical Society and Museum to find out more about the early years of Lexington. “If you want to go way back, it all began south of the river,” Werger said. “There was a Plum Creek station, and a Pony Express Station when the trails went through. Well, in 1866, when the railroad came through, they moved. Plum Creek, which is now Lexington started where we are today.”
Some of the original founding personalities of the town include Daniel and Louisa Freeman. “They were the ones that owned the Plum Creek Station, on the south side of the river where the trails went through,” Werger said. “When the railroad came, Daniel knew he needed to relocate where the Overland Trail was going to be. Daniel was one of the first people to say, this is a great place to settle, we need to get more people here. He brought back two Philadelphia colonies from the East Coast. And in the first group, there was about 63 people that settled here, and really started the town.”
Originally, Lexington was named Plum Creek. “It was doing very well as Plum Creek, and it was growing,” Werger said. “They’d established businesses, we had some brick buildings that were built in the late 1880′s, and some of those are actually still here, there are two of them that are still standing. But, things happened. We had a lynch mob, and a hanging of some homesteaders. The town decided it needed to improve its image. So in 1889, they held a vote and they community changed the name to Lexington.”
Transportation has played a major role in the development of Lexington. “We had the Union Pacific Railroad coming through Lexington,” Werger said. “We had Highway 30, which back in the day was known as the Lincoln Highway. That brought a lot of people into town. If you walk around Lexington, you can still see many beautiful old homes, that were built by some of the founding families.”
Werger says people care about their local history in Lexington. “You can tell when people come here they get really excited, and they see things, and they connect with things that was a part of their family,” Werger said. “We still have many descendants of people who started here in the 1800′s. Family names like Anthony and Batie, that have been here for so long. It’s a testament to the town and the community.”
If you’d like to know more about the history of Lexington and the area, drop by the Dawson County Historical Society and Museum for much more information.
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