Beautiful home houses Wayne County Museum

Pure Nebraska
Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 10:19 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 13, 2022 at 10:24 AM CST
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WAYNE, Neb. (KOLN) - During a visit to the northeast Nebraska community of Wayne, we took a tour of a museum located inside an old home that has very unique features.

Rachel Kunz is the Wayne County Historical Society Board President, and we caught up with her to learn more about the museum and the house it’s housed in.

“This was actually built in 1900 by Dr. W. C. Wightman,” Kunz said. “His name is on the front door. He was a local doctor in Wayne. It took him three years to build the home, and it cost him $13,000. He moved in about three years after building it. In 1913, he sold it to the Ley family for $6,000. He took a bit of a hit, but he had joined the railroad, and he became a doctor for them. He didn’t need a big house, he just needed a room to stay. Part of the condition of selling to the Ley family, is that whenever he was back in town, he wanted to have a room to come back to. The Ley family had the house until 1976, when they donated it very generously to the Wayne County Museum and Historical Society.”

There are many unique features inside the home.

“This is really the only place in Wayne where you can see historical artifacts from the Ley family and the Wightmans, but also the county and surrounding county’s artifacts,” Kunz said. “Before we had this house, the artifacts were stored in the basement of the courthouse. Some of the features of the home include the hand-laid parquette flooring in each of the main floor rooms. Each room has a different design. Not only do we have the flooring, but there are three fireplaces, two of which are ornate. Two are on the main floor, and one is upstairs. We have a lot of original woodwork, and we have 1920′s wallpaper, which is really cool in my opinion, because a lot of times, wallpaper is replaced by the time a historical society gets an old home.”

Museum officials are working to promote themselves for the future.

“What we want to do is get more involved in the community,” Kunz said. “We’ve worked to get more events going, and bring the museum and historical society into the community’s eyes, and we hope to continue with more events in the next year.”