Cedar Creek, named for cedar trees growing along its banks, empties into the Platte River 13 miles west of Plattsmouth. In 1865 a town was platted by John Inhelder and two brothers, Isaac and George Sayles, who later sold their interest to Inhelder. It was, for all intent and purpose, a "paper town" for many years, as were many registered during Nebraska's early days.
However, as the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad pushed westward from the Missouri River at Plattsmouth toward the new capitol city at Lincoln, it created a string of new stations -- each a potential "town." These included: Oreapolis, Concord (also called Cullom or Omaha Junction), Inhelder Station (also referred to as Cedar Creek Station), Hoover's Station (that became Louisville), South Bend, Ashland, and Greenwood. The new line reached Lincoln on July 26, 1870. With this development, a new opportunity was presented.
Initially called "Inhelder Station," the railroad later identified it as "Cedar Creek Station." The postal department, which had the final word in the matter, approved the name "Cedar Creek" on March 20, 1872.
According to Andreas' Nebraska History in 1882, there was only one store and only one or two houses on the town site. Regarding the population listed at 75 in the 1880 census, the author suggests that the enumerators must have "counted all the people in several surrounding sections."
German-born Christian Schilantz operated a grist mill one mile southwest of the post office. In 1882 the mill was valued at $15,000, with the equivalent of 20 horsepower and a capacity of 100 bushels per day. By 1886 the mill had been converted into a full roller system. In 1893 the enlarged three-story mill was called the Cedar Creek Roller Miller, and was owned by Fred Schroeder.
In time Cedar Creek became a going concern with a lumberyard, a hotel, a boarding house, an ice house, a blacksmith, a hardware store, and a dance hall. Social events included spelling bees, box socials, skating parties, and taffy pulls. Walks on Sunday afternoons to Metzger's Ponds were a typical activity when the weather permitted, and the children would look for its "deposits" of arrowheads and Indian beads. One annual highlight remembered by many was the Christmas program at Sayles Hall, where the men of the community came in with bushel baskets full of popcorn balls and gifts for the children.
The first schoolhouse was near Vic Stoehr's place about a mile from town. When a larger school was built in town, the old building was sold to August Schneider, who moved it to Cedar Creek for use as a hardware store. In 1897 the Cedar Creek school had two teachers and 61 pupils. In 1962 there were still two teachers, but only 24 pupils. Since then the school has closed, with most students attending classes in Louisville.
A community Presbyterian church was organized in 1915 under the care and guidance of pastors from the Murray and Plattsmouth congregations. Today these are the only remaining Presbyterian churches in Cass County.
The "old" Cedar Creek struggled during the lean years. Today, with a population of 334, it is a flourishing river resort with a post office, fire hall, and two popular restaurants, Anna's and DoDa's.
No history of Cedar Creek would be complete without mention of Ault's General Store. Once known as the Schneider & Baker General Store, it became Wolff & Ault for a time, then was owned by A.O. Ault. Owned by the Ashley and Anna Ault family for nearly 100 years, the store is now owned and operated by G. W. "Jack" Ault.
By Don Hill, Cass County Historical Society, from records and manuscripts found in the CCHS archives.
ADDITIONAL MATERIAL: History of Cass County, Nebraska, 1989.