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Nebraska...Our Towns

HADAR -- PIERCE COUNTY

In about the year 1869 a caravan of 52 wagons left Wisconsin and traveled westward in search of new homes. The story is told of the man who built a crate that was fastened on the side of his covered wagon to house two pigs. The trip took so long that a larger crate had to be built before they reached their destination.

Comprised of German immigrants, the group, while of the same religious faith, were far from compatible. They managed to disagree on everything: the route to take, when and where to set up camp, and their position in the wagon train.

When they finally arrived at the place that had been selected by the committee, there was another argument. While some were pleased with the selection, others wanted to turn back and locate on land they had seen in Madison County. Still others wanted to go further, in search of "something better."

The argument continued and became quite heated. Following services held at Herman Braasch's home on a Sunday morning, (which nearly ended in fisticuffs), the people decided to call Rev.Heckendorf, a minister from Wisconsin, to serve the colony and help settle the dispute.

When he arrived it was apparent that neither side would budge, so the minister dug a hole in the boundary line between the properties in question, and placed a long pole in it. Using black axle grease from the wagons, he wrote on the pole in big letters "H-A-D-E-R," which in German means fight, quarrel, or wordy argument.

Thus called to task, the colonists either located on the land that was available, went back to Madison County, or traveled further north. The sign remained, to keep the memory of this dispute constantly in mind.

The community was still far from tranquil. Two neighbors living on opposite sides of a small creek, continued to quarrel. One of them, August Raasch, is said to have named it "Hader Vasser," meaning "hate water."

A cemetery plot containing two acres north and east of the community was sold to the Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran church by Gottfried Koehl for $10. The deed was filed on February 1, 1879, making it the first cemetery in the county.

The lack of railroad facilities in Pierce County had not only deterred immigration, but made life quite difficult for pioneers who had settled there. In 1879, after much debate, a group of investors from the Western Railway Construction Company of Missouri Valley, Iowa, entered into a contract with the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad Company, to build a line about 65 miles long, from near Norfolk to Niobrara. This would put a railroad within reach of the people in Pierce and Knox counties.

The line was completed through Plainview in 1880, a distance of just over 31 miles. No depot was built in the German settlement, located only a short distance from Norfolk. A siding where produce and livestock could be loaded and disbursed was a non-agency station. However, a post office was requested by the residents. With the pole only a short distance from the railroad still bearing the word "Hader," it was decided to submit this as the name. It was accepted, but the spelling was changed to "Hadar."

The importance of the rail line was obvious. A number of homes and businesses were established before the Pioneer Townsite Company got around to platting a town in 1883.

Information about growth of the town and its present activities have not been submitted. An old atlas (late 1890s) lists Hadar with a population of 15. In both 1940 and 1955, the population was listed at 133. In 1980 the population was 290. Its location near Norfolk would appear to provide employment opportunities for people who prefer to live in a smaller community.

From material compiled by J. Graff