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home : local history : pender history
November 20, 2018

History of Pender

Nebraska home seekers found Pender located on a beautiful plateau just west of Logan Creek in 1885.  The founder of Pender was W.E. Peebles.

Pender was originally a part of Dakota County until the organization of Thurston County.  Then it became the first town in the new county.

Pender businesses in 1895 included the following:

  • Robert Racely’s Furniture Store
  • Two Banks
  • Snyders Pharmacy
  • Peebles Hotel
  • Pioneer Harness Shop
  • Brick Makers
  • Lumber; Lime; and Coal Companies
  • Attorneys; Doctors; Dentists
  • A Grocery store and many others

Early entertainment in the Village came from theatrics and dances performed at the Opera House, a building which still stands today.  Pender was also home to a race track for horses.  Beside the regular racing meets the track was the scene of many match meets between local farmers who boasted of spirited horses.  The grand stand was demolished about 1910 and become farm ground.

In 1914 a local entrepreneur opened a movie theatre in a tent located on East Main Street.  When the cold weather came he rented a vacant store building and opened a picture house known as “The Thelma Theatre”.

Present time recreation and entertainment are provided for the community at the Pender ball fields with boys baseball teams of all ages; softball teams for girls of all ages; school football games; basketball games; volleyball games and track events.  The local park and swimming pool provide for summer recreation, as well as our 9 hole golf course.  Our Legion Hall is host to family gatherings; dances and receptions as well as Pender host’ an eight lane bowling alley.

Our main street today continues to thrive just as it did nearly 125 years ago.

Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, July 29, 2016
Article comment by: Pender Times

From "Pender, the county seat of Thurston County, was (founded in) 1886. It was originally two miles south of its present location and was, at that time, called Athens. The name was changed to Pender in honor of John Pender, an Englishman who was noted as a cable builder and who was a director of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha railroad. The town was moved to its present location through railroad cooperation."

Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2016
Article comment by: Richard Pender

I would like to find out how the name Pender was selected for the town.

Posted: Sunday, March 8, 2015
Article comment by: Paul Gobat

I'm looking for any information concerning semi-professional or American Legion baseball teams playing for Pender, NE in 1955 or 1956

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