Jerry Kneifel is an expert on the history of Platte County.
But though he may have the answers, recalling his sources for these questions has always been a struggle. So for the past eight years, he has been compiling a timeline of events in the area with corresponding sources into a book.
“Columbus Nebraska Historical Compendium and Time-Line” is now available for purchase. The 54-paged publication contains nearly 1,000 events relating to the history of Columbus and Platte County in chronological order. The earliest event in the timeline is the 1540 Coronado expedition conducted by Spanish explorers and the latest is the recent completion of the Pedestrian Overpass on 18th Avenue.
The booklet can be purchased at the Platte County Historical Society Museum at 2916 16th St. in Columbus. The price is $12 if purchased in person or $15 if being shipped. Kneifel said he has already sold a few, but the uncommon word “compendium” in the title is something he's had to explain to people.
“A compendium is a source-type book. It gives information about something ... a compilation of sources,” Kneifel said. “It’s not really a history book as such … I’m not trying to say that I’ve written a history book, it’s a compendium and timeline, but it is historical.”
The majority of the events listed in the timeline include a call number corresponding to additional resources at the Columbus Public Library. The book also includes an appendix detailing all the old street names in Columbus and their modern-day equivalents.
Museum Executive Director Cheri Schrader said the book will make for an excellent resource for those researching the history of the area. She’s impressed by the work Kneifel has put into it and said it will be a helpful new tool.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Schrader said about the book. “Up until now, it’s been a matter of researching online, Google and other things like that. To have a real timeline is really nice. I look forward to using it.”
The first batch of 100 books was printed by Platte Valley Printing, but more can be produced if needed. Kneifel said he is already working on a second edition, which he hopes to have completed in the next two years. If people notice anything incorrect or missing from the book, Kneifel can be reached on his cell phone at 402-276-2927 or by email at email@example.com so he can include the corrections in the revised edition.
“It’s not really a finished thing. I don't intend it to be a finished thing,” Kneifel said about the book. “I hope that it continues to go on. So it’s just the beginning of a journey.”
Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.