Deuel County is a small county located in the west-central part of the state of Nebraska, with a population of fewer than 2,000 people. Despite its size, this county has a rich history that is worth exploring. In this article, we will be highlighting seven interesting facts about Deuel County in Nebraska history.
1. Naming of Deuel County
Deuel County was named after Harry Porter Deuel, a Nebraska pioneer who was a member of the territorial Legislature, and who later became a judge. Interestingly, Harry Porter Deuel never set foot in Deuel County as the county was not created until three years after his death in 1888.
2. Old Oregon Trail
Deuel County was a significant location along the Old Oregon Trail, which was used by settlers and pioneers to travel westward. The Oregon Trail traversed Deuel County and provided water and grass for settlers travelling through the region. Today, visitors to Deuel County can still see parts of the Oregon Trail, such as wagon ruts, historic markers, and other remnants.
3. Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs, located in Deuel County, was a popular stopping point for travellers heading west on the Oregon Trail. The springs were a source of freshwater for travellers and also provided a natural hot spring, which was used for bathing and healing purposes. Today, visitors can still visit the steamboat springs to learn more about its historical significance.
4. Fort McPherson
Fort McPherson was a United States Army outpost located in Deuel County during the American Indian Wars. The fort was established in 1863 and played a significant role in protecting settlers and enforcing government policies. Today, visitors can learn about the history of Fort McPherson at a museum located in the nearby city of North Platte.
5. Deuel Vocational Institute
Deuel Vocational Institute was a prison located in Deuel County, which was originally built as a reform school in 1900. The facility later became a prison and was closed in 2015 after it was deemed inadequate by the Department of Corrections. The building is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and efforts are being made to preserve it as a historic landmark.
6. The Great Western Sugar Company
The Great Western Sugar Company operated a sugar beet factory in Deuel County during the early 20th century. The factory was an important source of employment and economic growth for the region and played a significant role in the county's history. Today, the factory is no longer in operation, but visitors can learn about its history at a local museum.
7. Big Springs
Big Springs is a small town located in Deuel County, which was an important stop for travellers on the Oregon Trail and later became a railroad town. The town played a pivotal role in the cattle industry during the late 19th century and was home to several famous cowboys and cattle drivers. Today, the town is a popular destination for tourists looking to explore the history of the American West.
In conclusion, Deuel County has a rich and diverse history that is worth exploring. From the Oregon Trail to the Great Western Sugar Company, the county has played a significant role in the economic, social, and cultural development of Nebraska. Visitors to the county can still see many historical sites and learn about its fascinating past. Deuel County is truly a gem in the history of Nebraska.
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