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Platte County AgPark

822 15th Street
Columbus, NE 68601

402-564-0133

History:

The Society was formed on June 2, 1941 when about 50 Platte County farmers and businessmen met. Gifts of both land and money had been offered if such a society were organized. Much of the early efforts of contacting people in the county, securing gifts and obtaining necessary legal work, was done by M. M. Taylor. Mr. Taylor was the President of the Central National Bank. It was primarily through his efforts that the gift of $5,000 cash from Mr. Theo Friedhof and the gift of the 84 acre farm from Mrs. Albert H. Gehner was made.

Mr. Friedhof was a retired merchant who for many years operated a department store on the southeast corner of 13th Street and 27th Avenue. Mrs. Gehner was the daughter of one of Platte County's earliest settlers. Her maiden name was Helen Browner and the farm which she gave was known as the Browner Farm.

The first Board of Managers represented all parts of the County as is true of all subsequent Boards. The first officers of the Society were:

President: George Soden, Manager of the local Swift & Co. plant.
Vice-President: A.P. Peterson, Lindsay Postmaster.
Interested in 4-H and was referred to as the father of the 4-H movement in Platte County.
Secretary: J. H. Moeller, Owner of Columbus Credit
Bureau Treasurer: M. M. Taylor, President of Central National Bank
Ed Nielsen was appointed to head the drive for funds. He was owner of Nielsen Garage. The goal was $10,000 with a minimum of $ 5,000. A very successful campaign raised over $ 13,000. An additional gift of $ 5,000 was then made by Mrs. Gehner and Mr. Friedhof and it was earmarked for the auditorium. Mrs. Gehner gave additional gifts totaling $ 8,000 which were used to beautify the grounds and make other improvements.

As money became available buildings were built to house livestock during the Fair and horses during the Races. A grandstand was built as was a race track. Many areas of the grounds were used for production of crops and a beef herd was kept until 1959. Improvements continued to be made.

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