Nebraska December 04, 2016
The Unique Town In Nebraska That’s Anything But Ordinary
With a name like “Ord,” you might expect this town to be pretty…well, ordinary. But this central Nebraska town is wonderfully unique and full of great people and rich experiences.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
Nestled into the North Loup Valley on the eastern edge of the Sandhills, Ord is smack dab in the middle of everything.
As the county seat of Valley County, Ord is at the heart of the cluster of communities surrounding it.
The town of just over 2,000 is the commerce center of the county. In fact, more than half of Valley County's residents live in Ord.
A truly beautiful place to live or to visit, Ord is full of sweet little businesses, friendly faces, and endless activities.
You may not expect it from a little town in central Nebraska, but Ord is a progressive community with an eye turned firmly toward the future. However, they retain a strong grip on the past as well. (Just look at that picture. Doesn't that make your heart ache to visit this gorgeous town?)
Nearby Fort Hartsuff, located halfway between Ord and Burwell, is a perfect example of the commitment to history found in this area.
The fort was only in use from 1874 to 1881, but it saw a lot of action in that time. The fort was supposed to be a sort of peacekeeping presence, stepping between the settlers and the Native Americans. It also helped protect warring tribes from one another. Living history events are frequent here, and they are definitely not to be missed.
If you're an aviation buff, you may recognize Ord as the home of Evelyn Sharp, one of the first commercially licensed female pilots in the country.
In her short lifetime, Sharp (seen here on the right) fought in WWII and taught approximately 350 men to fly. She was killed in a tragic accident at 24 and is buried in the Ord cemetery.
The architecture in Ord is truly a sight to behold.
The century-old buildings have, for the most part, been very well cared for. The Beaux-Arts style Valley County courthouse is positively charming and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
This unique building once housed the People's Unitarian Church.
theater is not only a gorgeous historic building; it's also home to a thriving art scene - a rarity in a community of this size.
Outdoor recreation is serious business here, and one of the best places to enjoy the city's beauty is at Aubles Pond.
Two miles of hiking trails surround the pond, which also offers trout fishing. A veterans memorial and Nebraska's second-tallest flag pole are also found at Aubles.
The pond is within the larger Bussell Park, a wooded city park featuring disc golf; basketball, tennis, and sand volleyball courts; a golf course; a swimming pool; and several playgrounds. Nearby Anderson Island offers access to the North Loup River for a variety of fun water activities. The various sandpit lakes in the area hold more great sources of aquatic recreation.
Being located within a short distance of Sherman Reservoir, Davis Creek Reservoir, and Calamus Reservoir, Ord is in a prime location for all kinds of nature-lovers. One of the natural highlights of the region is watching the prairie chickens do their fascinating dance in the spring. The Nebraska Prairie Chicken Festival is held each year in nearby Burwell, and it's one of those festivals that you just have to attend to understand why it's so special.
In the summer, the Valley County Fair brings the city - and the whole region, really - to life.
You'll find everything at the fair that you love about small-town Nebraska county fairs. The food, the competitions, the animals, the parade...this is an event to look forward to all year. Of course, with the state fair in Grand Island just about an hour's drive away, folks can enjoy their smaller celebration at home and then make the trek to the BIG fair if they choose.
The sense of community is strong here - and growing stronger every day.
Community events abound, and the city's well-designed
keeps everyone updated on city news and upcoming events. Recently, the annual WinterFest and Small Business Saturday 2016 brought out residents from all over the county and beyond. Small businesses are the lifeblood of this little city, and residents do their best to support them year-round.
As if you needed proof that Ord is located in a magnificent setting, the Loup Rivers Scenic Byway runs right through here.
As one of Nebraska's official scenic byways, the road (not pictured) shows off some of the area's most picturesque sights. It's easy to get lost in thought out here as you watch the gentle hills rolling by.
This is a special place - just ask anyone who has had the pleasure of spending time here.
There's something about the sense of warm community, progressive thinking, and small-town atmosphere that combines to create a place that really feels like home. Even if you're just passing through, it's hard to miss just how much residents love their home.
Located a fair bit off of I-80 and away from any big cities, Ord nurtures its friendly, small-town image. People know the town as a safe place that’s perfect for families – or anyone, really.
For another delightfully unique Nebraska town, check out
Wilber, the Czech Capital of Nebraska.