Nebraska November 09, 2016
The Little Town In Nebraska That Might Just Be The Most Unique Town In The World
Just southwest of Lincoln, in Saline County, is a little island of Europe in the middle of Nebraska. Wilber has been named the Czech Capital of the U.S.A., and the town lives up to that name every day of the year.
The City of WIlber boasts a population of just over 1800.
The town was settled by Czech immigrants in the late 19th century.
By the beginning of the 20th century, 90 percent of the town's 1250 residents were Czech immigrants or descendants of Czech immigrants.
Wilber has stayed true to its Czech roots.
Symbols of this are everywhere. From the repeated phrase "Vitame Vas" that you'll see all over town...
(This sign says
"We welcome you.")
...To other sweet community greetings around every corner...
(This bench says
"How are you?")
...To messages related to the town's heritage that are literally set in stone.
There are still plenty of signs that you're still in Nebraska.
Part of what makes Wilber so unique is this combination of Czech and Great Plains influences. The two cultures have blended seamlessly here.
But for the most part, spending time in Wilber feels like stepping into old-world Czechoslovakia as the residents' ancestors knew it.
Cleverly named businesses...
...And Czech-themed imagery permeate the town's landscape.
Lovely flowers line the streets and traditional Czech music plays plays on Main Street.
The Wilber Czech Museum holds all kinds of old-world treasures to remind residents of their heritage.
Art, household items, and historic artifacts fill the beautiful building. The museum is a must-visit whenever you're in town.
Every August, Wilber ramps up the Czech culture with their annual Czech Days festival.
Ethnic music, food, and family activities all combine to make Wilber's Czech Days one of the most popular festivals in the area.
The little city was declared the official Czech Capital of the United States on July 10, 1987. The decree was signed by then-president Ronald Regan.
The Hotel Wilber is one of several buildings in the town on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Victorian-era hotel promises warm beds, traditional Czech food, and a quiet space for relaxation.
The cultural group Nebraska Czechs, Inc. began in Wilber with the Czechs of Wilber, originally organized in 1962.
The organization now boasts eight chapters throughout the state.
This little community is a unique piece of old-world European charm in the Great Plains. It's unexpected, and once you visit you'll fall in love.
The town’s Czech Days festival is held on the first weekend of August every year. Mark your calendar for 2017, because this is one of the most fun and immersive cultural festivals in the state.
Have you ever been to
Wilber? Tell us all about it in the comments! For some more charming small Nebraska towns, check out this list.