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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • Memorial markers to be unveiled Aug. 31

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  • Since 1911, the area near 1st Corso and 9th Street has been the site of public education in Nebraska City.  Thanks to the Class of 1964, future generations will be always be aware of that history.
    A memorial marker commemorating two school buildings, both now razed, will be officially unveiled to the public this Sunday, August 31, at 2 p.m. in front of the Nebraska City Middle School.   
    The original school was built in 1911 at the current site of the Middle School.   In 1928, a brick three-story structure was built as a junior high school across the street to the east.
    “There are lots of historic buildings and houses in this area along 1st Corso,” said Nichi Barton, a member of the Class of 1964.  “You have the courthouse, the library, the GAR Hall, Farmer’s Bank, the original site of the News Press; this street is teeming with history!”
    Barton and Diane Reese, another Class of 1964 alum, organized the memorial marker project.  They said that while the two school buildings are gone, they played an important part in Nebraska City’s history.
    The memorial, comprised of large polished black granite markers, commemorative paving stones, granite benches, and landscaping, tells the history of the two buildings from their beginnings in 1911 and 1928 to their closings and demolitions in 1964 and 1995, respectively.  
    The markers even tell of the time between 1945 and 1964 when the original high school became the junior high and the junior high held high school classes.
    “During that time, more and more students were finishing high school than had before,” Barton said.  “The original high school was too small, so they switched places.”
    Barton and Reese both remember when 9th Street was roped off between 2nd Corso and the alley just north of the schools to allow students to cross from one school to the other safely during the school day.
    In the fall of 1964, the new high school on Steinhart Park Road opened and the junior high was moved back into the brick building.  The made Barton and Reese part of the last class to graduate from that building.
    “It was something our class wanted to do for our 50th reunion,” Barton said.  They started raising the $25,000 needed in July of 2013 and, according to Barton, had all the funds they needed by that following November.
    “I took calls from alumni all over the United States,” Barton said.  Barton, a fourth generation Nebraska Citian, said she was impressed with the support their project received.
    Work on the project finished up in late July of 2014.  Craig Taylor, NCMS principal, saw it installed in stages.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Now that I can see the final product, I love it,” Taylor said.  “It changes the entrance to the school and is a great spot for community members to gather.”
    Barton said that while they were doing research about the history of the buildings at the Morton James Public Library and at the Otoe County Courthouse, their committee came across their Class of 1964 Motto.
    “I had forgotten it, I guess,” Barton said, “but it was:  ‘Prize the Past and Pursue the Future.’  I think we’ve done that here.”

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