Columbus, Nebraska

History

Columbus was where the west began, serving as a major outfitting post for pioneers from 1860 to the 1870s. Travel through Columbus’ origins and learn how other Platte County communities were founded here.

Today, visitors travel through history at the Platte County Museum, where Columbus’ rich heritage is preserved or by visiting one of the historical monuments and plaques located throughout town.

See Columbus’ One-of-a-Kinds for a closer look at what made Columbus the destination it is today.

Historical Markers

Andrew Jackson Higgins Historical Marker – Pawnee Park
A marker to the right of the Memorial displays a biography of Andrew Jackson Higgins, highlighting his outstanding accomplishments and contributions to both his community and the nation. Learn more about this inspirational man here.

The Villasur Expedition of 1720 – Pawnee Park/U.S. Highways 30 & 81
The earliest record of explorers in Platte County.

Statue of the Prairie Pioneer – Pawnee Park/U.S. Highways 30 & 81
Marks the North Branch Oregon Trail. The Platte Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution dedicated this marker in 1927.

Ferry Rock – Pawnee Park/U.S. Highways 30 & 81
Marks the site of the first Loup River Ferry built to serve Columbus.

Spanish-American War Veterans Memorial – Pawnee Park/U.S. Highways 30 & 81
Dedicated to all veterans who served in the Spanish-American War and the conflict in the Philippines.

Veterans of All Wars Memorial – Pawnee Park/U.S. Highways 30 & 81
Dedicated by Hartman Post No. 84 and Auxiliary American Legion.

Memory Meadows – Pawnee Park/U.S. Highways 30 & 81
Living tree memorial, each tree is dedicated in memory of a loved one.

Statue of Liberty Replica – Pawnee Park/U.S. Highways 30 & 81
Commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America’s crusade to strengthen the arm of liberty.

Quincentenary Belltower- Pawnee Park/U.S. Highways 30 & 81
Officially dedicated on April 25, 1992, the belltower was conceived as a lasting monument to the community’s celebration of the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ first voyage to the New World. Learn more about this unique monument to the nation’s discovery.

Quincentenary Plaque – Pawnee Park/U.S. Highways 30 & 81
Identifies donors to the Belltower Project. Dedicated by the Woodmen of the World Lodge 702 in Columbus.

The North BrothersChamber of Commerce Lawn
Dedicated to Frank & Luther North, highly revered as leaders of the Pawnee Scouts. The North Brothers were known for beginning and overseeing the famous group of native Americans known as the Pawnee Scouts. The scouts were renowned for the assistance they provided the American Government during its westward expansion. The North Brothers later became ranching partners with Buffalo Bill and were members of his Wild West Show.

Union Veterans of the Civil War MemorialFrankfort Square
Dedicated to those from Platte County who served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Jaycees 50th Anniversary Time Capsule & SundialFrankfort Square
Commemorates the organization’s Golden Anniversary.

First Home in Columbus PlaqueBuffalo Square
This plaque commemorates the location of the first home built in Columbus. The cabin was moved to Pawnee Park and later lost to fire.

Agricultural ParkColumbus Fairgrounds
Dedicated to the many benefactors who, due to their generosity, enabled the dreams of several residents to become reality on June 3, 1941 when Platte County Agricultural Society was formed. Race enthusiasts enjoy live thoroughbred racing on summer weekends and simulcast horse racing throughout the year. Ag Park is also home to the Platte County Fair.