by Catherine Renschler
Juniata, named by the Burlington Railroad for a river in Pennsylvania, is the oldest town in Adams County, and was the original county seat. The first settlers, members of the Michigan Colony, arrived in 1871 under the auspices of the Burlington Railroad. The town was surveyed and platted in November, 1871 in Section 12, Juniata Township. The county organizational election was held December 12, 1871 at the home of Titus Babcock in Juniata. 29 votes were cast and Juniata was elected the county seat of Adams County.
The first official county business was transacted on January 12, 1872 when the commissioners, S.L. Brass, Edwin M. Allen, and W.W. Selleck ordered the first county courthouse to be erected in Juniata. The building, to be built in ten days, was 20 feet by 16 feet.
Adams County's first newspaper, the Adams County Gazette began publishing on November 25, 1871. No issues, except the first, of this newspaper which printed in Juniata until 1876, are known to exist. The first train pulled into Juniata on June 8, 1872. Before that the mail was carried overland from Grand Island, in Hall County, or from Sutton, in Clay County. A large flour mill, operated by steam power, was erected in 1874, and settlers from all over south central Nebraska and north central Kansas brought their grain to Juniata to be ground into flour and animal feed.
The Juniata post office was established in December, 1871. Names of postmasters with dates their service began follow: Titus Babcock, December, 1871; Wm. Knickerbocker August, 1881; Samuel J. Shirley October, 1881; Samuel L. Brass June, 1885; David V. Stephens November, 1889; Walter E. Shaver May, 1893; Isiah H. Rickel November, 1897; Howard L. Sergeant August, 1914; Tim N. Cannon May, 1934; C. Lavern Gangwish March, 1951; Melvin A. Hagemeyer June, 1952; Bonnie Sittner March, 1973; Kay Brown .
The Commercial Hotel on Juniata Avenue, south of the railroad depot, was one of the largest in Nebraska west of Lincoln during the 1870s. Among its amenities were a "sample room" (bar) ladies parlor, and an ornate dining room. It was demolished in 1897.
The first school in the county, District No. 1, Juniata, was organized in 1871. The first high school graduation occurred 1891. A large two-story brick school building was erected in 1896 and stood until 1977 when it was demolished. The last high school class graduated from Juniata in 1967.
Juniata Cemetery, located one mile west of town, organized in 1873, is the oldest cemetery in Adams County.
The first Methodist Church in Adams County was organized at Juniata in 1872, and built a 30 by 60 foot church building in 1875. Although remodeled and added to several times the church building is still in use. The Baptists also organized in 1872, and built a church in 1878. Their church is now the Community Church. The Church of the Brethren organized in 1881, built a church in 1893 and disbanded in 1922.
Juniata's history took a fateful turn on April 12, 1872. that day representatives of the St. Joseph and Denver Railroad appeared before the county commissioners, asking for $75,000 in county bonds to complete twenty-five miles of track in Adams County. In a decision that had major consequences, the commissioners declined to fund the project, reasoning that the railroad would build through the county regardless. The St. Joseph and Denver did build, but its tracks crossed the Burlington line at a place seven miles east of Juniata. Named Hastings by the railroad, this crossroads grew so rapidly that six years later the county seat was moved there after a bitter fight.
Despite loss of the county seat, Juniata continued to grow. The 1897 business directory contains fifty-four listings. In 1881 Geary Post No 82, Grand Army of the Republic, (an organization of Union veterans of the Civil War) was organized.
In 1879 C.R. Jones Bank was established. It later became the State Bank of Juniata and in 1934 merged with the State Bank of Prosser to become the Adams County Bank of Kenesaw. The Adams County Bank built a new branch facility at Juniata in 1996.
Juniata has suffered many disastrous fires in its history. In 1883 seven business buildings burned, in 1892 the flour mill burned and was rebuilt, in 1908, the Thorne Block, the largest building in town with its second story opera house, and the bank of Juniata burned. In 1917 several brick buildings built after the fire of 1883 burned. The mill burned for the second time in 1925 and was not rebuilt. The last major fire in the business district occurred in 1961 when the gymnasium-auditorium, built on the site of two previous fires, burned.
The Juniata Grain and Livestock Association was incorporated in 1897, changed its name to Juniata Farmers Co-op in 1943 and is now Heartland Co-op. Juniata's grain elevator is one of the largest in the area, and a sizable livestock feedyard is located north of town.
A two story town pump with band stand was erected over the public pump and cistern at the intersection of Juniata Avenue and Tenth Street in 1904. It was later reduced in size and finally destroyed by a tornado in 1960.
Because of its proximity to Hastings, Juniata is now a commuter suburb with few businesses. Its population (about 900) is larger today than it was during the 1880s.
ADAMS COUNTY DIRECTORY 1925-26
Published by Wolfe and Pickering, Kenesaw, Nebraska
Alphabetical List of Juniata Residents
Adrian, John, wife Lena; Barbara 18, Marian 11, Geraldine 13 mos, William 16, Raymond 14, John 6
Alves, Louis F., retired traveling salesman, wife Minnie, Lilly
Austin, Harve, stock buyer, wife Agnes Jean; Agnes 18, Florence 16
Baker, A. B., laborer, wife Marguerite; Clifford 11, Clayton 10
Baker, Troy, cigar maker, wife Opal; Gwendlyn 8, Maxine 6, Margaret 4
Banister, J. H., DLD maintainer, wife Nancy; Phillip 11, Walter 9, Orvil 7, Amy & Unice 6, George 4, Dettamay 2, Clyde 6 mos
Bates, C.L., barber, Lois 2, Doris 8 mos
Battreall, Thomas, section hand, wife mary; Oliver 15
Battreall, Billy, mail carrier , wife Ruth
Bottomley, W. H., Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot Agent, wife Ema
Bradley, A. W. , farmer and stock buyer, wife Ella
Burroughs, Chas., cream station, wife and two children
Burwell, Judson, retired
Buskirk, Edgar, works oil station in Hastings, wife Ruth; Edgar Jr 1 mo
Buskirk, Mrs. Mary, widow of J. T.
Butler, Mrs. Mary, widow
Butler, Frank, cigar store, single
Butler, R., elevator manager, wife Mary
Cannon, Tim, drug store, wife Myrtle; Laurene 9
Carl, B. F., grocerman, wife Sadie; Evert 17
Carter, S. M., laborer, wife Mildred; Ruth 6, Charles 4, Myrtle 3, Luella 8 mos
Chase, G. B., retired minister, wife Mary
Childs, W. L., carpenter, wife Sarah; mabel Newell granddaughter 16
Clauder, Mrs. Libbie, widow of L. H.; Leland
Clayton, B. C., works on road, wife Sarah
Craft, Cora, housekeeper
Crane, Mrs. E. V., Dale 18
Crosier, Evelyn, primary teacher Juniata Schools
Davidson, Lucy, second grade teacher, Juniata Schools
Davis, C. L., barber, wife Edith; Cletrac 4, Clenore 3, Cleo 1
Davis F., laborer, wife Lottie; Evelyn 15
Davis, John, harness maker, wife Alice; Oral 17, Willard 14
Day, Henry, drayman, wife Bertha; Dora 1, Evert 6, Edward 4
Dean, B. M., laborer
DeLay, R. D., traveling salesman, wife Rose; Lela 12, Ersel 13, Zura 14, Friel 17, Rosel 19
Doll, Mrs. Emma, domestic
Eckersley, Joe, school janitor, wife Florence
Foster, F. W., barber, wife Maud; Kenneth 10, Virginia 9
Frye, R. W., laborer, wife Virgil; Phyllis 3, Robert 11 mos
Gangwish, Albert, works in elevator, wife Clara; Albert Dale 5
Gangwish, Elmer F., blacksmith, wife Caroline; Augusta 2, Gertrude 14, Velma 13, Verna 9, Eunice 5, Marjorie 3, Reinhard 11, Harold 8
Gangwish, J. F., retired farmer, wife Rosella; Fern 17
Gangwish, Mae, school teacher
Gooding, U. S., wife Rosa
Hall, G. W., retired farmer, widower
Halsey, B. A., section foreman, wife Rose; Hannah 7, Mary 5, William 3, Irmise 9 mos
Halsey, Jerome, retired, Civil War Vet. widower
Harris, Fred, retired farmer
Harris, Miss Mary
Harris, Lydia, widow of J. W.
Hayes, E. B., machinist, wife Stella; Cal 3
Helman, John L. mgr Juniata Lumber, wife Odessa; Gwendolyn 11, Evelyn 9, Irene 7, Jack 8, Glen 5
Hendrickson, J. M., Burlington freight house, Hastings; wife Katie.
Hendrickson, Ora, Riggs Optical, Hastings
Hohfield, August, carpenter, Mrs. Conover housekeeper, John 17
Holt, Wm., gardener
Hoover, Harry, mail carrier, wife Florence; Alice 17, Grace 12, Philip 15
Howe, James, farmer, wife Alma
Howland, Frank G., mail carrier, wife Rose; James 18, Winfield 16, Kenneth 14, Elton 10
Howland, S. P., Civil War Vet., wife Sabie
Hubbard, E. P., manager grain assn., wife Hattie
Hurst, Marguerite, grammar teacher, Juniata Schools
Itzen, S. H., cashier, State Bank of Juniata, wife Harmka; Alverta 4
Jessie, Joe, brick mason, wife Marie; Helen 12, Nellie 8
Johnson, Rev A. W., M.E. minister, wife Irma; Lois Loree 2
Johnson, S., retired farmer, widower
Karr, F. L., stock dealer, wife Oma; Dorothy 7, Maxine 6, Ellen 3, Janice 2 mos. Keith 4
Lancaster, John, retired, widower
Land, Mary, widow of Adam
Lapp, Titus S., Assistant Principal Juniata Schools
Lawritson, Gladys, Principal Juniata Schools
Lilly, S. W., retired farmer, wife Mary
Liveringhouse, Louis, retired farmer, wife Mary.
McElfresh, C. A., retired farmer, Cecil DeMoulin grandson 15
McFerren, Ida, widow; Darrel 18, Lauvella 16, Frances 14
McHarry, Gale, McHarry Bros Garage, wife Elizabeth
McHarry, Walter, auto mechanic
McHarry, J. W., retired framer, wife May; Miss Maud
McKelvy, Mrs. J., widow
Madison, M., retired blacksmith, wife Anna
Magner, Roy, wife Anna; Bernice 10, Dale 2
Marsh, S. D., engineer at Ingleside, wife Lucy; Opal 14
Martie, J. C. , drayman, wife Bessie; Virginia 8, Phyllis 4, Violet 5, Alva 10, Virgil 1
Martin, M. C.
Mays, Tom, laborer, wife Mrs. Tom; Arland 17
Miller, Leo, mechanic, Miller Bros. Garage, single
Miller, Ralph, mechanic, Miller Bros. Garage, wife Marie
Moran, J. M., poultry dealer, Miss Belle
Nash, A. J., wife Mina
Nation, Al, widower
Needham, E. L. , railroader, wife Martha; Selma 8, Olive 10, Verneda 14, Raymond 12, Ezar 18
Needham, Cyril, & Wayne
Nelson, Erland, Superintendent of Schools, wife Naida; Isabell 2 mos
Newell, C. E. , retired farmer, wife Cynthia
Nida, George, retired farmer, wife Isabell
Ormond, Joseph, retired druggist, wife Elizabeth
Ormond, Ralph, barber
Palmer, C. S., laborer, wife Stella
Pierce, Mrs. C. H., widow
Plum, Joseph, laborer, wife Lydia
Preston, Lillie, widow, Rex 14
Randall, E. S., retired farmer, wife Isabell
Rankin, John, laborer, wife Julia; Dorothy 9, Earl 14, Harvey 12, Junior 2
Reynolds, George, retired farmer, wife Mary; Joe 10
Robinson, J. A., laborer, wife Helma
Savery, H. R., retired, wife Lydia; Rex
Scudder, I. B., team work, wife Jennie; Leola 13, Charley 14. Helen, Walter, Lyle
Sergeant, H. L., Post master, wife Clara; Doris 17, John, Luther, Lucy
Sergeant, Helen, First intermediate teacher, Juniata Schools
Sergeant, Neal, mail carrier, wife Jean; Elfie Mae 5
Smith, G. W., retired farmer, single
Snavely, J. C., stock dealer, wife Martha; Helen 4, Charles 8, Junior 4
Snell, F. M., section hand, wife Della; Sherman 12, William 10, Mae 9
Snell, G. H., section foreman, wife Mary; Mildred 15, Anna 6, Wayne 13
Snell, Mrs., widow, Dan 18
Stephens, Hannah E., widow
Stone, E. E., widower, Myrtle 18
Stone, Ted, road maintainer; Leslie, road maintainer
Strong, C. E., Baptist Minister, wife Muriel; Marjorie 7, Carolyn 3
Strong, Ella T., widow
Tatro, C. H., section foreman, wife Mary; Imogene 10 mos
Tooley, A. L., farmer, single, nieces Beatrice 12, Grace 17
Trousch, Theodore, John, threshermen
Trousch, Thomas, farmer, wife Lulu; Vivian 9, Richard 6, June 1
Vreeland, Cora, telephone operator, widow, Leta 17
Vreeland, N. E., railroader, wife Donnie; Jand 18 mos. Nelson Jr 18 mos
Weseman, M. L., salesman, wife Lolaha; Cecil 14, Gaylord 11, Irene 5, Betty 18 mos
Wheat, Earl, Steins Store, Hastings, wife Hattie
Whiting, E. L., bookkeeper, Juniata State Bank, single
Wiltfong, Frank, salesman, wife Lillie; Bertha 12, Mildred 9, Fern 6, Violet 2, Isaac 11, Franklin 4
Wiltrout, J. E. , farmer, wife Ella
Wood, Mrs. Jennie, widow of R. O.
Wood, R. G., retired farmer, wife Eliza
Woods, O. W., retired farmer, wife Bell
Woods, George, & Floyd
back to top