Nebraska May 21, 2017
6 Insane Things That Happened In Nebraska You Won’t Find in History Books
Plenty of historic events have taken place in Nebraska over the years, but not all of them have made it into common knowledge. Some are so obscure or unusual that they aren’t even found in most history books. These six things are so crazy that it’s almost hard to believe they happened right here at home.
1. A Nebraskan "won the war" for the US.
Andrew Jackson Higgins, born in Columbus in 1886, would grow up to manufacture boats that the US Navy found instrumental in winning WWII (though his company was not based in Nebraska). In fact, more than 96 percent of US Navy boats were "Higgins boats" at the end of the war. Then-General Dwight Eisenhower referred to Higgins as the man who won the war for us.
Read more of the story here.
2. Early Nebraska maps featured six "ghost counties" that never existed.
Just after Nebraska became a state, mapmaking company Colton printed maps containing six counties in western Nebraska that were entirely nonexistent. The mistake came about because the mapmaker referenced an early legislative bill which showed an alternate version of the county lines. By the time the county lines were finalized, the maps were already printed. Other mapmakers copied the incorrect map, and the error was not corrected on new maps for more than a decade.
Read the whole story here.
3. Nebraska was hit by a Japanese balloon bomb in WWII...and no one said a word.
Japan sent out balloon bombs during WWII, then tracked where they ended up so they could perfect the technique for hitting their targets from such a far distance. One such bomb exploded over the Dundee area of Omaha in 1945. In the interest of thwarting the Japanese efforts to chart the bomb's trajectory, the incident was kept completely out of the news until after the war ended. Today, a historical marker stands on the site where the bomb exploded.
Read more about this incident - and the other times Nebraska was bombed during WWII - here.
4. A tiny Nebraska town voted itself out of existence.
The Thomas County town of Seneca, which was incorporated in 1888, dissolved in 2014 after a year of disputes and acrimony. The incident which began the disputes was regarding an ordinance that barred residents from keeping horses within town limits. Over the course of several months, bickering and bitterness led to the village board voting to dissolve Seneca. The motion won by a single vote. Seneca officially became an unincorporated community in mid-2014.
5. The first self-propelled vehicle west of the Mississippi was debuted in Nebraska.
In the mid-1880s, an entrepreneur named Joseph Renshaw Brown saw the opportunity to introduce steam-powered vehicles to the prairie. His contraption caused a lot of excitement in Nebraska City where its journey began. After its payload was attached and the vehicle started to chug toward Kearney, it unceremoniously died seven miles into the trip. Although it didn't achieve its mission, the vehicle still made history.
Read the whole story here.
6. A "volcano" once existed in Nebraska...before it was washed away.
In northeastern Nebraska, a mysterious hill right on the banks of the Missouri River used to release heat and steam of such power that people assumed it was a volcano. In reality, it was a chemical reaction within the hill causing these events. In 1878, a flood washed the "volcano" away forever.
Read more about Nebraska's lost volcano here.
How many of these crazy events did you already know about? Nebraska is full of amazing history. Read about five more unusual events