[Nemaha County Historical Society]


Newsletter Contents

Historical Records and Resources

Nemaha County story

History of Seneca, Kansas

Museum in former Jail

Artifacts and memorabilia reminiscent of the early days of Nemaha County can be found in the Nemaha County Historical Museum. The Museum is located in the "old County Jail" at the corner of Sixth and Nemaha Street.

The two-story brick structure was completed in October 1879, at the cost of $9,965. The front part of the building facing the street was the resident jailer's living quarters. Strong, steel bars can be seen covering the windows in the back part of the building where you can enter into one of J. Pauley's Patent Steel jail cells. Each cell accommodated four persons.

The Nemaha County Law Enforcement Building houses the present-day jail. It was built in 1978 and is located next to the courthouse. The Nemaha County Historical Society purchased the old county jail in January, 1978, and had its grand opening in July of that same year.

Amelia Sudbeck (1923-1991), known as "Mother of the Society" was an instrumental person in organizing the Historical Society and the Museum. A plaque on the wall of the Museum reads "This building is a memorial to her. Each room contains her relentless dedication and devotion to the preservation of Nemaha County history for future generations to enjoy."

As you tour the 20-room building, you will see a variety of clothing, china, glassware, pictures and country store items. Animal hides hang along the prisoner walkway and a "spider skillet" from a former Pony Express station near Seneca sits on an old cook stove. The selection of quilts includes a "crazy quilt" dating from 1896. A beautifully refurnished piano from a Kelly Kansas dance hall graces the parlor.

During 1995, Harry C. M. Burger, underwrote the cost of building an addition onto the museum. The Burger annex houses displays concerning the military involvement of Nemaha Countians, the railroads of Nemaha County, and early businesses in the county.

The museum is open for visitors during summer afternoons. During the rest of the year, it is open by appointment.

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Nemaha County Genealogical Society || Nemaha County GenWeb ||

June 1996