“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”
― Terry Pratchett
Auburn, one of the newest cities in Nemaha County, included three earlier towns within its city limits—St. George, Sheridan, and Calvert. Auburn is right at the center of Nemaha. Nemaha was an area for the Underground Railroad. Slaves concealed in the homes of sympathizers in daylight, then ferried north across the river at night (to Nebraska City). According to the Nebraska Historical Society, there are two documented sites, one somewhere in Nemaha, and the other near Brownville. For more on Nemaha.
The 40 acres of St. George, (now northeast Auburn) were divided in the 1850s. Surveyed as 160-acre-town site in 1868, Sheridan, was a short distance west of St. George. Calvert was founded as a result of a new railroad depot site being selected south of Sheridan in 1881. Named in honor of the railroad official, Thomas E. Calvert, the area was selected and purchased by the Missouri and Burlington Railroad.
The two towns Calvert and Sheridan incorporated into Auburn on May 1, 1882. The city was named after Auburn, NY. The two houses in these photos were not far outside of Auburn, and they were right along Highway 75, directly across the street from one another. I first saw them on my way to Oklahoma City for my corporate Christmas party, and stopped to snap just a few pictures and stretched my legs. I am so happy I did because on my way home later that week it was dark. Just two weeks later, I returned to take more photos of these two houses and some others, but they were gone! The only traces were two piles of rubble, and a bulldozer.
What you are unable to see from these photos, because I was in a rush that day, so I did not shoot as many as I normally do, is that there was a side door to this house wide open! However, it was right off of the highway. I planned to stop on the way home, but I also stopped at the asylum in OKC and some others, so it was dark. 🙁
Auburn became the county seat of Nemaha County on February 27, 1883. Nixon and Howe sold the land for a city park for $5,000, which now includes the memorial Avenue of Flags honoring all veterans from Nemaha County.
Auburn is Nebraska’s first Tree City USA, an honor they have held since 1976.
The other house, directly across the highway from the white house, splintered and sun-bleached, with a rotting red roof against the crisp blue sky. Her door was also wide open, begging for me to poke my head inside with my camera.
There is a State Historical Marker for the Half-Breed Tract one mile east of Auburn on Highway 136, located between the Great and Little Nemaha rivers. It was once customary for Native American tribes to marry early fur traders. The rights of the Native American half-breed descendants to their land were not always distinguished. In 1830, a tract of land was set aside for the half-breeds of the Otto, Iowa, Omaha, and Santee Sioux Tribes, recognized by the government per the Prairie Du Chien Treaty.
I loved the barbed wire fence and the fading crimson shingles more than anything.
On the way, before even reaching Auburn, I passed an old favorite outside of Nebraska City.
The morning sun embraced the farmhouse like a beloved friend.
Upon further research, I found something about a church I photographed in a town called Julian, Nebraska. The church was called St. Bernard Catholic Church. The church now operates as a mission church. Julian was settled by French immigrants who started the church in 1881. Julian flourished until the 1930’s, when the Great Depression began to take a toll. Julian also is known as the smallest Tree City member in Nebraska
Trish Eklund is the owner and creator of Abandoned, Forgotten, & Decayed, and Family Fusion Community, an online resource for blended families of all types. Trish’s photography has been featured on Only in Nebraska, ListVerse, Nature Takes Over and Pocket Abandoned. Check out the new Bonanza Store for AFD merchandise! Follow on Instagram and Facebook. Trish is regularly featured on The Mighty, Huffington Post Divorce, and Her View From Home. She has also been featured on Making Midlife Matter, and The Five Moms, and has an essay in the anthology, Hey, Who’s In My House? Stepkids Speak Out by Erin Mantz.