The monthly “Towns of the County” series is a little less than halfway over, but has seen great success this year.
Sponsored by the Butler County Historical Society (BCHS) and the Hruska Memorial Public Library in David City, each month’s presentation focuses on the history of one of the 12 incorporated towns in Butler County.
The purpose of the series is to honor David City and the towns upon which the county relies on for David City’s 150th anniversary in August.
Bellwood had been the first featured town in January. It was held at Winfield’s in downtown David City and saw 119 attendees. The large number of attendees led to future events being held at the Butler County Event Center.
So far, each program held at the event center – Dwight, Ulysses and Abie – have had roughly 200 people in attendance each. People have come from Omaha, Lincoln, Friend, Columbus and even from California.
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"Some people are coming to every one of the programs,” said BCHS volunteer Gina Barlean. “One woman didn't come to the last one and we were worried and hoped she was OK. I ran into her a few days later and mentioned that we missed her. She really appreciated that we missed her. It goes to show the feeling of community we're experiencing."
According to Gina Barlean, the series is a community effort.
The library hosts a display cabinet that shows the memorabilia collections of the upcoming town program, with each program’s presenter putting them up and taking them down. The library assists in promoting series, staffs the sign-in table and presents the speakers.
Jacque Masek makes kolaches and cookies, which are free to the programs guests and she runs the table for it. The Friends of the Library provides free bottled water, while Mark Doehling and Steve Barlean film the programs with Steve making DVDs to give to presenters. Judy Davis and Richard Polacek volunteer at the calendar and book sales tables while Gina Barlean handles the promotion of the events and uploads the filmed presentations onto YouTube.
Additionally, the Butler County Area Foundation has given the BCHS and library a grant, which funds in part the costs of advertising, the kolaches made by Masek and renting the event center. Program attendees can also donate to the cause, and the grant, along with monthly donations, pay for these expenses.
All of the “Towns of the County” programs start at 6:30 p.m. at the Butler County Event Center, 62 L St. in David City.
The next program will feature Surprise, which will be presented by Mark Doehling on May 15. Carolyn Dvorak and Sharon Bruner will talk about Brainard on June 5 while the Garrison program, presented by Jim Daro and Barb Daro Ingwersen, will now be held on June 26.
The Garrison program had previously been scheduled for July but was moved to June as the Butler County Fair and the David City 150th celebration will be held in July.
The other scheduled programs include Jim Residorff, David City on Aug. 7; The Ostrys, Bruno on Sept. 11; Diane Duren, Rising City on Oct. 2; Barb Brecka, Octavia on Nov. 6; and Gina Barlean, Linwood on Dec. 4
The speakers are given free rein in their presentations, and Barlean said they have all done an amazing job so far.
"It's been wonderful to see how people come out to support their communities. Also, the presenters’ relatives are coming to show support,” Barlean said. “It's great to see. We're all starting to feel like a big family."
Later this month, the BCHS will open the summer hours for the Depot Museum, 200 W. D St. in David City, on Memorial Day weekend – May 27 and May 28, from 1-4 p.m.
The summer’s display will show history as it was when David City began – how people lived, railroad history, old maps of Butler County and Nebraska and a slideshow about the county’s history.
The Depot Museum will then be open every weekend, Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m., through Labor Day weekend.
Hannah Schrodt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.