History of Wisner
Cuming County, Nebraska

information taken from Wisner, Strong & Steadfast, 1871 -125 years - 1996, 1996 Wisner Publishing Co., Wisner, NE and
History of the Elkhorn Valley, Nebraska, reproduction copy 1892 The National Publishing Co., Omaha, NE


First known as Elmont Precinct, now a part of Wisner Township, it was set-off August 23, 1870 and was platted by the Elkhorn Land & Town Site company with the actual filing submitted July 22, 1871. The location of Wisner is near the western line of Cuming County with State highway 275 intersecting the town, therefore: serving as its Main Street also. The Elkhorn River is its southern boundary. Wisner became an incorporated village May 14, 1873 and is now the second in size of the four towns in the county.

In 1887, the water system was voted in for the village and became the second water works in the state of Nebraska. It was extended in 1891 and the volunteer fire department was begun. The original bell from one of Wisner's first fire houses stands in front of the fire department building today.

Telephone service began in 1893. It was the first rural line in Nebraska and was brought in on an experimental basis. It consisted of one line of poles and wires from the Bell office in Omaha. Today Great Plains Communication provides service to the town and surrounding communities.

The first mail facility was known as Elmont and was facilitated by Postmaster Thomas E. Johnson. In 1871 a post office was established at Wisner with Mr. Johnson serving as Postmaster.

Wisner's Main Street looking east.

A Mr. Thomas Johnson was the first to homestead and settle within the Wisner township. The first frame house in this township was built by Fritz Schabel who had to haul the lumber from Fremont.

The first pioneer school was attended by 14 children in the winter of 1870-1871 and was instructed by Charles L. Siecke for $30 per month. (Another account states that Mary Glidden was the first teacher.) During the first term of school, the pupils were required to carry their own chair from home which would be in addition to their lunch and whatever else was required. Today, Wisner has an elementary facility as will as a Jr. High and High School facility. Pre-school is provided by several private parties as well as Goldenrod Hills.

Early businessmen in 1871 included John W. Pollock, grain dealer and lumber yard; George Gibson, seller of goods; and George Canfield, Wisner House Hotel and a livery barn. By 1872 the following men had begun businesses in the village of Wisner: H.J. Robinson, hardware and drug store; J.M. Forsythe, meat market; "Dan" Tucker, shoe shop; E.M. Clark, lawyer and real estate agent; and J.W. Kearns was the first physician. Today the town is a thriving community with stores of many types: grocery, service stations for cars and trucks, hardware, auto dealerships, Farmers Elevator Co., and banks to name a few. The cattle industry is one of Wisner's main businesses along with the farmers in the rural areas surrounding the community.

The spiritual needs of the community were met from early on with two Lutheran churches, a Catholic church, a Methodist Episcopal church and a Congregational Church. Today there are two Lutheran churches plus the Catholic church with the Methodist and Congregational churches having united.

In 1889 Nye & Wilson and Morehouse had grain, coal and livestock. Adolph Becker was manager. January 1903 Nye moved south of the tracks. In 1927 it was Nye and Jinks. In 1928 A.T. Anderson bought out Nye and Jinks Grain Co. Later Moseman Lumber bought out Anderson Coal and Grain. In 1941 Emley bought out this lumber company. The Farmers Elevator was established in 1944.

Lodges have been a part of the community since 1883. These include the Masons, Odd Fellows, Grand Army of the Republic, Women's Relief Corps and the Wisner Lodge No. 138 A.O.U.W.

There are two parks in Wisner both serving a different purpose. The one on the hill serves the swimming pool crowd while the river side park is for camping, picnics, water fun and various other activities held throughout the year.

Wisner's Women Club founded the first permanent library in 1903. This replaced the traveling State Library system which previously provided library services. Today's library is a modern facility the community can be proud of. The Elkhorn Valley Arts Unlimited is instrumental in bringing various cultural mediums for the county's enjoyment.

Wisner Care Center, the Medical/Dental Clinic, an eye clinic, and the Senior Center provide care and recreation for all ages within the community. A new wellness center is currently under construction.

Wisner has had several newspapers. Over the years there have been two Wisner Times, as well ass the The Wisner Chronicle, The Wisner News and finally, the Wisner News-Chronicle. By 1986 the Wisner News-Chronicle was including news from the surrounding communities of Bancroft, Beemer and Pilger which is still the policy of the present owners.

Early map of Wisner

Early City Hall in Wisner.

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