Nebraska May 26, 2019
The Quaint Village In Nebraska That Everyone Should Visit At Least Once
Travel anywhere in Nebraska and you’ll discover wonderfully sweet little towns, villages, and cities just waiting for your visit. They’re full of friendly people and beautiful scenery, and every single one has its own unique personality. This village along the Nebraska/Kansas border has character and heart to spare, and everyone should visit at least once.
Chester is an itty-bitty Thayer County village of barely more than 200 people. What it lacks in population, though, it more than makes up for in heart.
This idyllic community is an ideal place to enjoy the best of Great Plains life. The scenic surroundings are positively poetic, and the small-town vibe is laid back and friendly. In short, it's one of those towns where the spirit of Nebraska is alive and well.
The village was named for Chester A. Arthur, 21st president of the US, but has since earned a name for itself for other reasons. This is where six-man football was invented; it was born of necessity thanks to small team sizes in rural high schools but has since gone on to become its own popular variant of the sport.
But Chester may be best known as the resting place of "Little Boy Blue." On Christmas Eve, 1985, a local man found a young boy's body in a ditch along the road in Chester.
The town banded together to memorialize the little boy, who was later identified as 9-year-old Danny Stutzman from Ohio. People from Chester and surrounding communities donated time, funds, services, and a burial plot to give the boy a proper memorial. Before his true identity was discovered, the townspeople named him Matthew, which means "gift from God." Hundreds of Nebraskans pulled together to care for the forgotten little boy, and the incident defined the village of Chester's loving, friendly atmosphere.
Daily life in Chester isn't nearly as dramatic as that event from the past. Things move kind of slowly here, which suits residents just fine. You can often find folks chatting and enjoying a cup of coffee and a meal in Foote's Cafe.
It's the kind of place where the server will remember your regular order and you'll always run into some friends. The locals eat here, so you know it's good!
Chester is the site of some delightful annual celebrations. Chesterfest is in June and exemplifies pretty much everything that is wonderful about small-town festivals.
Be sure to stop by the village in December to see the Christmas Light And Sound Show, a beautiful display in the former Chester school which is now a private residence and art school. The synchronized lights and music are truly an unforgettable experience.
Chester may be tiny, but there's plenty to do to keep residents and visitors busy. Stop by and explore - you're bound to make a few friends while you're there!
Have you ever visited the quaint village of Chester, Nebraska? What was your favorite part of the lovely little town? Tell us all about it in the comments!
Want to discover some more of our greatest small towns? Check out
this article from the archives.