Front of the Grand Island City hall building.

Grand Island Celebrates 150 Years as a City


Front of the Grand Island City hall building.

The past 150 years have seen changes in about everything that  impacts our lives. Developments and growth in agriculture, communications and  transportation are among the many advances that changed the course of Grand Island’s  future. But it was the railroad coming through central Nebraska that ensured that Grand  Island Station would become a city. 

In 1872, Grand Island Station was granted incorporation and became known as Grand  Island. In celebration of the 150th year as an incorporated city, Mayor Steele called upon  several community partners to work together to highlight Grand Island’s history. Special  events and programs are taking place through the remainder of the year. Some existing  events will also include the celebration in their activities. 

Liana Steele, one of the Grand Island 150 organizers said, “Grand Island has a  tremendous history that we want to showcase”. 

Those entities involved in celebration activities include, the Hall County Historical  Society, Grand Island Liederkranz, Grand Island Public Library and Library Foundation,  Stuhr Museum, Grand Island Tourism, Grand Island Chamber of Commerce, and the City  of Grand Island.  

Upcoming events include the Liederkranz Craft Brew and Sausage Fest, August 20 and  an Andrew Carnegie reenactment at the Grand Island Public Library August 21. The  Liederkranz pre-dates Grand Island’s incorporation and was started by Grand Island’s  German founders. As the City grew, community members took the opportunity to build  a modern library with funds donated by steel magnate, Andrew Carnegie. These two  buildings remain and are a block from one another along Walnut Street.  

“We’re fortunate that so much of Grand Island’s history is preserved for us,” said Dana  Jelinek one of the Grand Island 150 organizers, “From the many historical buildings, to  Stuhr Museum, the Liederkranz and the Historical Society, so many pieces of our history  still exist.” 

Hall County Historical Society, which was founded by many of the original settlers’  families is also celebrating an anniversary this year. It’s the 100th year since the society’s  founding. To mark the occasion, a Centennial Clock will soon be set and dedicated at  the corner of Pine and Third Streets, near where the original street clock once stood. 

Grand Island Tourism also created a self-guided walking tour, highlighting historical  buildings in the Railside district. Maps are available at the tourism office, located at  Third and Locust, in the historic Hedde building.

Throughout the duration of the year, several events will take place including: 

• August 20th 4 PM - Craft Brew & Sausage Fest - Liederkranz 

o Enjoy craft brews and sausages in the beautiful, canopied courtyard.  • August 21st 2 PM - Andrew Carnegie Reenactment - G.I. Public Library o Tom King brings to life Andrew Carnegie to tell his connection to G.I. • September 10th 9 AM - 5 PM - Agricultural Fair - Stuhr Museum  o Visit Railroad Town for historical reenactments, food, and programs.  • September 17th & 24th - Historical Society Bus Tours of Grand Island o The Historical Society hosts bus tours to view G.I.’s historic sites.  • September 18th 2 PM - Theodore Roosevelt - G.I. Public Library o President Roosevelt broke ground for GI's first library. Dr. Biggs with UNK  History Department will reenact his speech, and Michelle Setlik will  provide history about the building.  

• September 25th 2 PM - Edith Abbott Victorian Tea Party - G.I. Public Library  o A special event for children ages 3rd-5th grade and their guest! • October 1st 8 AM - Harvest of Harmony Parade - Downtown Grand Island o Celebrate the 80th Chamber of Commerce Harvest of Harmony parade,  as floats and marching bands “March through the Decades!” 

• October 16th 2 PM - "A Grand Community: A Grand City" - G.I. Public Library o A Historical Society program on the memorable people, places, and  events throughout Grand Island’s History 

• October 23rd 2 PM - Children's Train Program - Burlington Station  o Hosted by the GI Public Library, this event is for children to see model  railroads, make crafts, and enjoy stories. Thanks to Tri-City Model  Railroad Association! 

• November 20th 2 PM - Heritage Ornaments Program - G.I. Public Library o A program for teens and adults to create 150th historical ornaments. 

Other entities marking milestones are The Grand Theatre, which is 85 and the Harvest  of Harmony Parade which is celebrating its 80th parade. 

To find more information about Grand Island 150 events, visit each event’s respective  organization website and social media. Information may also be found at visitgrandisland.com/events/ or https://www.grand-island.com/150GrandIsland 



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