When you visit Tilden, you immediately get the feeling that neighbors care for each other, and the volunteer spirit is alive and well.
We recently traveled to Tilden. Part of the town lies in Madison County, and part of it is in Antelope County. We talked with area resident Susan Fields about the community. First, we learned about a unique thrift store called 'New2U'. "We started the thrift store about three years ago," Fields said. "This is a non-profit thrift store, which means everything that comes in here is a donation. After we've met our expenses, paid our rent, our utilities, and our insurance, then any money that's left over at the end of the month, we give away. We have a five-member board that meets every month to decide who we are going to give our money to each month."
Along with the thrift store, the community is very proud of a state-of-the-art library in town. There is also a brand new Junior-Senior High School. "In fact, it only took one bond issue to pass it," Fields said. "We have a new park that has been developing over the last few years, with a baseball field, soccer fields, and a fishing pond where kids can go and fish." Along with these 'quality of life' amenities, the town features a number of businesses. "We have quite a variety," Fields said. "We have a new bank, a couple of beauty shops, we have a large construction company called Rutjens Construction, we have Merit Mechanical, and we have several construction companies in town that build homes. We have Elkhorn Valley Equipment where they sell irrigation equipment. We have a really nice restaurant, and a unique old-time gas station on the corner."
The town swimming pool was built by the WPA during the Depression. In 1935, the pool project got underway. It is a semi-circle pool which makes it stand out among the rectangular pools of today. Tilden is also home to a famous major league baseball player. "Richie Ashburn was born and raised here in Tilden," Fields said. "He graduated from here in the mid-40's. He was drafted, and I don't know how many teams he played for, but in the final years of his career, he played for the Philadelphia Phillies." There is actually a display dedicated to Ashburn in the town library, and baseball fans enjoy coming to see it.
Tilden is also proud of the town's Young Men's Club. "One of their first big projects was to sell flags," Fields said. "Anybody who lives in town could buy a flag with a pole, and the young men put those flags up about six times a year." There is also a group of flags on the highway where people who may not live in town can also purchase a flag and display it in honor of someone. "I bought one in memory of my dad who was a veteran," Fields said.
The next time you are traveling along Highway 275, you might just want to pull in to Tilden and check out what this Nebraska town has to offer.