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Nebraska...Our Towns

OSMOND -- PIERCE COUNTY

Osmond, population 880, sits at the threshold of its second century. A centennial celebration is being planned for July 4-8, 1990.

The town was chartered in 1890. Born on the virtually treeless prairie of northern Pierce County, Osmond, like many other blossoms on the plains, was the child of the railroad. Little documented evidence of the town's birth is available. Some writings about the early years do exist, however most accounts have been handed down from one generation to the next by word of mouth.

The origin of the town's name, "Osmond," has a number of theories, but no concrete facts. Writings indicate the location was chosen because a settlement had been established there 10-20 years prior to chartering.

James Busfield and Frank Dorsey, engineers for the fledgling Pacific Short Line Railroad, are credited with having laid out the town on land purchased from Hans Petersen Sr. and his wife.

Early settlers to Osmond include: Huwaldt, Bruegman, Koehler, Rosburg, Kortina, Petersen, Nissen, Manzer, Fleming, Billerbeck, Gregersen, Henrichsen, Nelson, Schmitz, Kratochvil, Mehrens, Rohrberg, Luebbers, Cizek, Kumm, Friday, Record, Thomsen, Leedom, Pochop, Fuelberth, Pfanstiel, Goeres, Schmit, Book, Buchanan, Marek, Hoeppner, Broekemeier, Matteson, Rodgers, Stewart, Sattler, and Schumacher.

The town grew quickly, with the usual array of businesses. Professional persons served the town on a commuting basis before practices were established. From this beginning, stores and services were added as community needs and desires dictated.

There were of course good years and lean ones, blizzards, hail, floods, grasshoppers, and drought. Each took its toll. Fire proved to be the greatest loss to the city when the entire west block of the business district was destroyed in March 1904. A city fire department has been in existence since 1902, with a rural fire district formed in 1941. The two agencies merged in the mid-1980s.

Whether from crop or business loss, the residents of Osmond have risen to the occasion and the town continues to grow. The latest hurdle came as a result of the economic decline of the early 1980s. A number of businesses closed and some farmers were forced to liquidate their operations. The picture has changed significantly as the decade ends. New businesses have appeared, others have expanded or are making plans to do so, and a second development corporation has been formed to promote growth. A progressive community club and city council have also enhanced development.

Religion and education have always been high priorities in the community. The Methodist church was the first on the scene in 1890, followed by the Presbyterian, Catholic, and Lutheran in the next five years. Before buildings were erected for worship, services were held in homes. The Methodist and Presbyterian churches merged in 1967.

Osmond Community Schools serve elementary and high school students from a sizable area. It is the result of the 1959 consolidation of the city school district (that originated in 1889) and 14 rural districts. In addition, the Lutheran and Catholic parishes maintain elementary schools.

Osmond General Hospital serves the town and several neighboring communities. This 37-bed facility is approved for acute, skilled, and intermediate care. The community has both a resident doctor and dentist.

Industrially, the town is home to light agricultural equipment manufacturing plants, a grain terminal, farm implement dealer, road construction firm, and a large irrigation and farm equipment supplier. Some 50 other retail and professional firms accommodate the needs of the residents and farming community.

Service organizations include: Woman's Club, Legion and VFW Posts and their auxiliaries, hospital auxiliary, and a number of extension and 4-H clubs. Recreational opportunities are also plentiful, with a swimming pool, tennis court, bowling lanes, a park, and a baseball-softball complex.

By Bernice Herbolsheimer Blecha, Box 306, Osmond, NE 68765

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL: A centennial book is being published. Contact Bernice Blecha for information at the above address or call (402) 748-3712.