History of Cedar Bluffs, Nebraska
From: Past and Present Saunders County, Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement
Charles Perky Supervising Editor
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. Chiago 1915
THE CITY OF CEDAR BLUFFS
BEGINNING OF TOWN
The early settlers of the northern part of Saunders County underwent a great amount of hardship in the difficulty of reaching a market with their product. Fremont was the closest town for many years and in the early days the only way of redching this city was by fording the Platte River and many a thrilling experience was had in crossing this treacherous stream. Many a load of grain was lost, many a load of simple household goods was immersed, in the attempt to get across to a market. Provisions which were meant to last for a whole season were carried down stream to the best fording site and there transported over to the Saunders County side, the drivers thankful when the south side of the river was gained. Naturally, this brought the marketing of the crops to the point of peril, until a bridge was built to lessen the danger. The building of the Lincoln line of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad in 1886 lessened the burden of marketing, for with the building of the road the Town of Cedar Bluffs came into existence and with it the country surrounding began to develop and enlarge until it has reached the generous proportions which it now enjoys. Where this city is now located was once the site of a corn field, the property of M. Fouquet and W. R. Sampson, and the town site company cleared a portion of it for the original lot sale. This was a big event for many of the people in the community. The town site people bought from Fouquet and Sampson for $40 per acre; a price which seems ridiculous in the light of the present value of town property in Cedar Bluffs. After the town had become a fact R. H. Knapp, who has been prominent in the community, passed judgment that, while he would never see the day, the younger men of the town would see a time when land in the neighborhood would sell for as much as $75 per acre. Mr. Knapp lived to see some of this land sold for $225 per acre.
FIRST BUSINESS HOUSES
The first store to open for business in the new town was a hardware store. Jansa and Ficenez, who came here
from Wahoo, put up a building on the corner where the Lockner hardware store is now located. It was a frame structure.
Killian Brothers, who also had a store at Wahoo, formed a partnership with Henry Fuhrman under the firm name of
Killian Brothers Company and started the first general store, the second place of business in the town. Goods were
shipped from Fremont and Wahoo on a construction train soon after the steel rails of the Northwestern Railroad
were laid. Mr. Killian and John Stuehrk rode on top of a box car to watch the surplus goods which had been piled
there, no more room being available inside the car. Mr. Stuehrk was a clerk in the store and when John Killian
retired a few years ago, he and Mr. Killian's son, L. R., succeeded to the business. Several other buildings were
in the course of construction during the first months of the town's existence and among them a hotel. L. M. Dickey,
who was the original landlord, conducted a boarding house under the canvas wall of a tent during the construction
of the hotel and the people slept in the same place.
The banking business is represented in Cedar Bluffs by two strong institutions, the Bank of Cedar Bluffs and
the Farmers and Merchants State Bank. The former bank was organized in the year 1887 with the following officers:
It. H. Knapp, president; Peter Wolff, vice president; F. A. Gilbert, cashier. The first capital stock was $7,500,
which sum has now grown to $20,000. The bank was established in a plain wooden building which stood on the site
of the new brick structure. Mr. Knapp served as president until 1913. The present officers in the Bank of Cedar
Bluffs are: F. B. Knapp, president; P. Wolff, vice president; J. H. Mackprange, cashier; and It. J. Fleming, assistant
cashier. The bank carries a surplus fund of about twelve thousand dollars and the deposits for the year will average
very close to three hundred thousand dollars.
The Cedar Bluffs Standard is a live and prosperous weekly issued under the editorship of James Pickett, the son of T. J. Pickett, editor of the Wahoo Wasp. The Standard was established twenty five years ago and has had many owners and managers since that time. The latest news of the northern part of Saunders County is featured every week and, considering the nearby competition of Fremont, the paper is first class in every particular.
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