Monday, March 7, 2016

How Well Do You Know Your Dorchester History?

Dorchester is a community with a deep, proud past.  

When it comes to the history of our community, there is much in our town that we take for granted -- and a lot more that most of us with Dorchester ties simply do not know.

The Times staff has compiled a handful of important Dorchester history questions for our readers.  

See how many you can answer correctly.

1.)  When was Dorchester's main street (Washington Ave.) paved?

2.)  How many newspapers has Dorchester had?

3.)  When did telephone service come to Dorchester?

4.)  How many taverns did Dorchester have 50 years ago -- in the 1960s?

5.)  Who owned Dorchester's first auto dealer and when?



1.) Dorchester's main street was paved in late April 1936 and opened to traffic again on May 7 of that year.  The funding for the project came mostly from the federal Works Project Administration (PWA) under the Roosevelt administration, which was trying to work its way out of the Great Depression with public works spending. 

2.)  Three newspapers have been printed in Dorchester: the Dorchester Star (1870s-1950); the Dorchester Leader (1930s-1940s); and the Dorchester Booster (1941-1946).

3.) Telephone service came to Dorchester in 1905, when 247 phones were installed. The operator and switch board were located in the white building on the north end of main street. In 1952, dial phones came to the community, with 257 dial telephones installed.

4.) In the 1960s, Dorchester was home to three taverns.  Other businesses in Dorchester in the 1960s included the bank, two beauty salons, two auto garages, two grocery stores, one mortuary, one produce station, one blacksmith and welder, two farm implement retailers, a laundromat, one meat market, a plumbing and heating serviceman, one restaurant, one variety store, one ceramic store, one drug store, one lumber yard and the Farmers Cooperative.

5.) John Freeouf was Dorchester's first automobile dealer, starting in 1913.  He had to teach his customers to drive with every sale he made.


  1. To enjoy more Dorchester history, visit the Saline County Historical Society Museum, which opens April 3 and will be open every Sunday from 2-5 p.m. until October. The Museum was featured on Channels 10/11 "Pure Nebraska" show.

  2. Where was the Dorchester west mill located? It is in the photo in the side column.


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