Welcome to Juniata

Juniata is now a community of that lies
5 miles west of Hastings, Nebraska, in Adams County, in
the state of Nebraska. It is also 100 miles west of Lincoln,
Nebraska, the capital city.

The name Juniata was chosen by the members of the
Michigan Colony in 1871. At the time of the colony's
arrival, Juniata, a river in Pennsylvania, was famous in a
song. So perhaps that is the reason the name was chosen.

The Juniata River in Pennsylvania.

To organize towns in Nebraska, the railroad organized the
town through the Michigan Colony. The railroad would write
circulars to attract people from other parts of the country to
come to Nebraska. It was hoped that they would see how
wonderful it was and want to settle along the railroad.
The railroad was in the business to made money. If the
settlers stayed, they would ship their products to eastern
markets and the east would send products west.

One of the early descriptions of the Juniata area paints a
flowery picture: "The place is favorably located on a
beautiful level prairies country, splendidly adapted to
agricultural pursuits, the soil being fertile and
productive and the surface smooth, even and unbroken
and easy to cultivation." (1882 History of Nebraska)

So Juniata was platted in 1871 by the Burlington Railroad
Company. This railroad runs through Juniata today.It was
the first railroad to run through Nebraska.

In November, 1871, Juniata had a newspaper,
Adams County Gazette, 2 general stores, 2 attorneys,
and a doctor.

In November, 1872, there was added 50 residents and
15 houses, a lumber yard, livery barn, school, Baptist church,
Methodist church, post office and the first railroad train
pulled into Juniata on June 8,1872.

The Juniata Train Depot

Then came the amazing story of how Juniata lost
the county seat.
Now Juniata had to survive without being the county seat.
To everyone's surprise, these businesses were thriving in 1879:

  • 5 implement dealers
  • 6 attorneys
  • a bakery
  • barber
  • billiard hall
  • 4 blacksmiths
  • 3 book and stationery shops
  • 2 bootmakers
  • 3 broom manufacturers
  • 6 carpenters
  • a coal dealer
  • a dentist
  • a druggist
  • 4 dry goods merchants
  • and express and dry service
  • a furniture dealer
  • 2 grain buyers
  • 2 hardware stores
  • 3 hotels - named the Union House, Juniata House and Farmers House
  • 2 insurance agents
  • a jeweler
  • a lumber dealer
  • 2 meat markets
  • a millinery shop
  • a newspaper
  • 3 painters
  • 2 doctors
  • 3 stables
  • a veterinary
  • 2 wagon manufacturers

Dr. Hubbard's office was located at 9th and Platte Avenue.

V.A.Cannon and son's owned this drug store.

This was the lumber yard near the railroad on Juniata Avenue

Many of the old buildings burned down because they were
heated with coal oil (kerosene) which was used in the lighting
of the houses or stores and all had heating stoves for heat
and cooking.

Despite a big public bell,which called the citizens to fires, the
worst fire was in January 31, 1883. It started in a saloon and
destroyed a restaurant, grocery, ice house, drug story, dry goods
store and a barn. The Masonic Temple, close by, was saved.

The fires were very difficult to put out because in the
beginning there was no fire department and because there
was no water pressure for the fires, so they had to haul
the water in buckets. The town then bought a hand pumper.
This was only for spraying water onto the buildings to try
to keep the fire from spreading.In 1884 a livery barn burned,
and in 1892, the original flour mill ( a 3-story building)
and elevator were burned. The mill was a very important
place of business.It would grind wheat into flour for the
making of their bread. As payment for the grinding, the mill
would keep part of the wagon load and you would take the
rest home. The flour was put into cloth sacks, which when
empty, mom would make this material into your clothes.

This mill was steam powered.

Since Juniata was a farming community, the elevator was
important for the sale of grain grown. So the elevator
expanded as the grain increased.

The elevator in 1900.

The elevator in 1977. The new and the old sat side by side.

In 1971, there were 8 businesses:Midwest Distributing
Company, Coop elevator and Gas, Plainsmen restaurant,
Juniata cafe, Seeley's Greenhouse, Juniata Roofing,
Stomer Land Leveling and Walt's car wash.

A two-story town pump with a bandstand was placed in
the center of town at Juniata Avenue and Tenth in 1904. It
was a gathering place for the community. It had live music
on Saturday nights or Sunday afternoons for social events.

Later it was reduced in size and finally destroyed by a
tonado in 1960. A likeness was built and placed in a park.
The school children suggested names for the new park. It was
decided that the park should be called, "Gazebo Park".

Population Figures in Adams County:
Year  1880  1890  1900  1910  1920  1930  1940  1950  1960  1970  1980  1990
Juniata  494  528  543  471  329  367  338  365  422  480    

Will Juniata continue to grow?

Learn more about:

First Settlers | Removal of County Seat | School History | Firsts in Juniata

Thanks to the Adams County Historical Society for letting us borrow these excellent pictures
of Juniata's beginning. If you would like to learn more about Adams County, visit their web site at http://www.rootsweb.com/~neadams