Keith County Historical Society happenings

Pure Nebraska
Published: May. 31, 2022 at 12:07 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - There is quite a bit going on in Ogallala when it comes to preserving Keith County history. In this story, we are taking a closer look.

We caught up with Karen Nelson, who is the curator of the Mansion on the Hill in Ogallala. It turns out, there is not only the Mansion on the Hill to see, but you can also tour a small home called the O’Brien Lute House, that chronicles the history of the construction of Lake McConaughy. And, there is a one-room school house you can tour on the property. “We have a 1900-era school that came from south of Roscoe,” Nelson said. “It’s called District 7. In the school, you will find many original fixtures. The original clock is there, and there are original pictures. The most unique thing is the teacher’s desk. Inside the desk, you will find the signature of every teacher who taught at the school.”

In addition to the fascinating buildings you can tour, the Keith County Historical Society is looking to expand. and potentially build a new museum building. “We have been able to acquire the property to the north of the mansion,” Nelson said. “When the mansion was first built, the owner bought the entire block. Well, it’s been sold off over time. We are in the process of buying the block back. It may take several years to get it all back. But we have bought half of a lot to the north across the street, and that’s where we want to build a museum. We are now in the planning phase. We’ve never had a true museum. We’ve got the addition at the mansion, but we’ve never had enough room to truly deal with all of the history of the early homesteaders, the coming of the railroad, and the trails.”

As a sidebar, the Keith County Historical Society is getting ready to plan for the sesquicentennial of Keith County, which will be in 2023. “There’s going to be a number of things we are planning on doing,” Nelson said. “We are planning on expanding on the research of history being done in the county. So, there are many things being planned.”

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