Herman, Nebraska

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Herman is a village in Washington County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 310 at the 2000 census.

On July 13, 1899, Herman was struck by a tornado that killed or maimed over fifty people.

Contents

History

In the early 1870s, the Bailey and Burdic pioneer families settled in northern Washington County. As the area started to grow, railroad tracks were laid from Omaha. Aboard the first train was a conductor named Samuel Hermann.

At that time, the post office was named "Cuming City." The people felt that a better name was in order, since the office was near Cuming County but not in it. It was decided to name the town "Hermann," after the conductor. Later, the second "n" was dropped, and the official name became "Herman."

The early downtown consisted of the train station, a grocery store, the Herman Independent newspaper office, a hardware store, a lumberyard, a hotel, and a bank.

By the summer of 1899, a full array of businesses lined the village's main street. Then, with little or no warning, a "cyclone" swept down upon the town on June 13 and nearly blew it away. The downtown was completely demolished, and 13 people lost their lives.

Although only a few homes and businesses were left standing, the people stayed and began to build anew. New business houses flourished, and Herman soon boasted "the largest department store for a town of its size"[citation needed] in Nebraska. A conservative bank emerged, along with one of the largest retail implement businesses in the state. New and bigger clothing, millinery, and grocery stores also appeared. In addition to a pool hall, restaurant, meat market, and drug store, there was also a doctor, a dentist, a veterinarian, and the Grange Hall.

The telephone company of Herman was organized in 1901 by businessmen and farmers in the area. It consisted of two lines to which all phones were connected. This simple system has grown to a company with nearly 2,000 miles of line and subscribers from a large portion of the county.

Herman's peak population of 427 residents was reached in 1940; it is now 310. Herman has a city park and an active volunteer fire department.

Education

The first school in Herman was District 22, located on the Charles Burdic farm southeast of town. Burdic rented the building for a few dollars a month. Desks were handmade of green cottonwood; the seats were made from cottonwood logs with the sawed side up and rough bark underneath. The first teacher was a German schoolmaster whose English was so poor that the students could hardly understand him.

After two years in the old log schoolhouse, classes were moved to a 12 by 24-foot school built just south of town. The town's third school was built on the town site; when it was outgrown in 1912, a brick building was put up for a cost of $35,000. Later, a wing was added to the west side.

In 1959-60, more space was again needed. A new $125,000 building was constructed near the old one. It had a combination gym and auditorium, a domestic science room, science labs, and a shop, bringing together in one location many activities that had formerly been located in separate spaces.

In 1969, after increasing problems in meeting state curriculum standards and finding qualified teachers, it was decided to merge the Herman junior and senior high school with the Tekamah school system. K-6 students still attend classes in Herman.

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