The community of Julian began with French settlers, and now people who live in town are working hard to preserve the town's past.
We recently talked with a couple of people who have called the town home for many years. First, we talked with Grace Burgert about the early history of Julian. "This whole area of Nemaha County was seeing French settlers and fur traders coming in during the 1850's," Burgert said. "By the 1880's, you saw some permanent settlers come in. The Bernard family, the Bize family, and Julian Bahuaud. Those were the core people who came to settle here. They were all Frenchmen."
In about 1887, a gentleman by the name of Silas Clark built a railroad line called the Nebraska Southern Railroad. Clark bought land from farmers in the area, and he platted a town. "Before that, the first post office was in the area about a 1/2 mile south of here," Burgert said. "The post office took the name of Julian, after Julian Bahuaud. So, when the post office was moved to this new town, the town took the name of Julian." Local historians say his first name was chosen as the name of the town, because no one could pronounce his last name correctly.
According to Janis Grimes, Julian had a number of stores in the 1950's. She taught country school in Otoe County for more than 40 years. "There were two grocery stores in town. there was the Farmers Co-op Filling Station, there was a blacksmith shop, and there was a hardware store," Grimes said. Now, the filling station has been renovated, and efforts are underway to preserve other local historic spots. A water pump and stock tank in town has a story behind it. "My great uncle, he never did buy car, but he came to Julian to buy groceries in a wagon pulled by horses," Grimes said. "Of course, they needed water, so he would park them at the well." The pump and the stock tank that exist now are there to help people remember some of those stories. A wide-open space in the middle of town is also dedicated to a 99-year-old woman named Isabelle. "She's famous for growing flowers, so this park is in honor of her," Grimes said.
Be sure to take a drive through the community of Julian the next time you are heading to Auburn, Nebraska City or points beyond.