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Main Street Dorchester in 1906 with ponies from Col. Thompson's Elmwood Pony Farm.
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Dorchester Cooperative feed mill fire in the 1950s.
Dorchester: A Good Little Family Town
Dorchester, Nebraska (est. population 630) is located in northern Saline county. Close in proximity to Interstate 80, Dorchester is only 25 minutes from the state capital of Lincoln (est. population 250,000) and about 55 minutes from Omaha (metro population 725,000).
Dorchester's median resident age is 37 years. In 2005, Dorchester had a median family income of approximately $35,600. The median house value was about $63,000. About 95 percent of Dorchester residents commute to work via Interstate and highways.
The village has a quality public school, which received a $4.1 million expansion and modernization in 2008; it offers a small classrooms and individualized attention. Total enrollment of grades K-12 is around 230-250 students.
Ancestries of the Dorchester area are primarily German (42.4%), Czech (24.9%), Irish (12.5%), English (5.4%), and Dutch (4.9%).
Dorchester's West Mills, 1910. The mill, built by some of the area's first settlers, sat on the West Fork Big Blue River and was completed in 1864.
Dorchester-Area Job Listings
Live in Dorchester and still find a career in almost any sector. See today's latest Dorchster-area job listings by clicking here.
Dorchesters's Elmwood Pony Farm and W.J. Thompson, auctioneer, in 1912.
Join Dorchester Community Foundation Today
Want to make Dorchester an even better place to call home? Join the Dorchester Community Foundation. The Foundation and its fund have already spurred several community improvements, such as the city park renovation and the new 'Welcome to Dorchester' signs. To donate, simply click here.
Dorchester Historical Facts
* On July 4, 1871, the railroad reached Dorchester.
* Incorporated in 1881, Dorchester's population grew from 200 to 500 by 1882.
* In 1882, Dorchester had 90 buildings, 35 of which were businesses or public facilities. Brick buildings lined both sides of Washington Avenue for two blocks.
* Dorchester's longest-running newspaper was The Dorchester Star, which was published until the late 1940s.
* By 1889, Dorchester's population is said to have reached 800, while the town housed an opera house, a two-story brick schoolhouse with a bell tower, and four churches.
* By the 1910s, Dorchester had electricity, a water tower and a fire department.
* Dorchester's main arteries, Highways 6 and 33, were graveled in the 1940s.
* Dorchester's first irrigation well was drilled on Chris Weber's farm and rural electrification was finished following WWII.
Dorchester's Main Street, 1908, looking north.
A Village with History
Dorchester is one of the "alphabet towns" on the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad line built west from Lincoln. The town site was selected for its pleasant location in the northern part of Saline County, about eight miles west of Crete. This situation is an attractive one, being on the level prairie land, midway between the West Blue River and Turkey Creek. The first named stream is three miles north, and the latter about the same distance south from the town. Dorchester was platted in 1870 and incorporated in 1881. The name "Dorchester" came from either for a suburb of Boston by that name or a town in England. No one is sure. Two of the very first settlers were James Seely and Edward McIntyre, who both made Dorchester their permanent home.
Dorchester's Methodist Church circa 1889-90, shortly after the building was moved from Pleasant Hill.
Turkey Creek stock farm, circa 1885, south of Dorchester.
Dorchester: In The Beginning
Here is a look at Dorchester around 1890, less than a decade after its official incorporation, as documented by Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska:
* POPULATION: "About 300, and is made up of a substantial and progressive class of citizens, who are moral and industrious. ... The town grew but very little until the year 1879, for the reason that Pleasant Hill, on Turkey Creek, a short distance south, was the county seat and naturally drew a trade for quite a large scope of country."
* BUSINESS: "The business and professional interests of the town are represented by three general merchandise stores, two drug, one grocery, one furniture, two hardware, and two millinery stores, one bank, two restaurants, two hotels, three livery stables, a post office, one newspaper office, two elevators, two lumber yards, two coal yards, two blacksmith shops, two lawyers and four physicians."
* SCHOOL: "The schoolhouse is a good one. The schoolhouse was built in 1872, since which time the public schools have been continually kept up. The present schoolhouse is 24' x 40' in size, two stories high. The school is graded and consists of three departments. The house is found too small, and arrangements will soon be made to increase its size."
* CHURCHES: "There are three substantial churches."
* HOMES: "The residence portion of the village is made up of neat houses of different styles of architecture, but none of them very large."
* NEWSPAPER: "The Dorchester Star, which was established August 21, 1881, by H. C. Bittenbender, who edited it until January 19, 1882, when he sold it to Ryerson & Bullock, the present proprietors. The Star is a bright weekly paper, five-column quarto, in size, and is Republican in politics."
Portrait of three boys in costume on a dirt road in Dorchester, early 1900s. One is dressed as a Uncle Sam, while the other two are dressed as Native Americans, complete with feathered headdresses, fringed clothing and bows. Photo by Russell Freidell.
Dorchester Homes For Sale
Dorchester offers friendly, small-community living for families and individuals. The cost of living here is one of the nation's most affordable, while the quality of life is tremendous. Click here for the latest Dorchester area real estate listings.
The "famous Dorchester race car" from the 1930s, built and raced by Henry Sehnert, the village's longtime Ford auto dealer.
Dorchester Items On eBay
See what Dorchester-related items are for sale on eBay by clicking here. It should be noted that the Dorchester Times is neither affiliated with eBay, nor do we receive compensation from the company.
1909 Dorchester baseball team.
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The Old Dorchester School used from 1890-1927.
Current Dorchester Demographics
Click here for the most up-to-date information on Dorchester, including information and statistics on our residents, housing, school, businesses and climate.
Dorchester's train depot as featured in a postcard from the early 1900s.
TIMES POLL: If DHS were to co-op with another school for activities, which would you prefer?
Today's city hall as it appeared circa 1920, when it housed the Citizens State Bank, post office and Masonic Hall (upstairs).
TIMES POLL: What Should Be Dorchester's Top Priority Over The Next 12 Months?
Gathering at Dorchester's fairgrounds, 1908
TIMES POLL: What Issue Is Most Important When Voting For School Board Members?
RESULTS: Student Behavior/Perfomance -- 48.1%; Teacher/Staff Evaluation -- 16.3%; Cooperation With Village -- 15.4%; New Spending -- 14.4%; School Renovation -- 5.8% (104 votes)
Freeouf's Garage & Livery of Dorchester, circa 1925
POLL: What Should Dorchester's Top Goal Be For 2015?
Dorchester's Charles Havlat was the very last U.S. soldier killed in action in the European operations of WWII. Private Havlat was shot May 7, 1945, while on patrol in Bohemia, by German soldiers who were unaware a ceasefire had been declared.
TIMES POLL: Bring Back The Summertime Street Dances?
RESULTS: Yes -- 78.4%; No -- 21.6% (102 readers surveyed.)
The Dorchester telephone building, which housed operators and switchboards, as it appeared in the 1920s.
TIMES POLL: When Do You Get In Touch With Old DHS Classmates?
RESULTS: Alumni Tournaments -- 62.7%; Stay in touch regularly -- 18.6%; Homecoming -- 8.5%; Christmas/New Years -- 6.8%; Fourth of July -- 3.4%. (59 votes)
Dorchester Methodist Church around the turn of the 20th century
TIMES POLL: The City of Crete recently spent $1.2 million of taxpayer funds to renovate their swimming pool. Should Dorchester consider a small pool for our community?
Dorchester's First Baptist Church (year unknown)
TIMES POLL: What Is Dorchester's Best Quality?
RESULTS: The people of Dorchester -- 32.6%; School -- 18.5%; Close to larger towns -- 17.4%; Cost of living -- 16.3%; Other -- 9.8%; Organizations and businesses -- 5.4%. (92 readers surveyed.)
Dorchester Christian Church, circa 1908
TIMES POLL: Which Nearby Community Do You Most Enjoy Visiting?
Depot, telegraph office and elevator at Dorchester, circa 1910
Times Poll: What Is The Biggest Advantage Of Living In Dorchester?
Dorchester's Elmwood Pony Farm, owned by W.J. Thompson, 1912
TIMES POLL: What Is The Most Positive Development In Dorchester Lately?
RESULTS: City Park Renovation - 40.2%; More Civic Participation - 22%; Main Street Improvements - 13.6%; Growth Of Co-op - 13.6%; Nerud Field Project - 10.6%. (132 votes.)
Dorchester's July 4th G.A.R. parade, 1908
TIMES POLL: Do You Support Providing Property Tax Incentives For Businesses Buying Main Street Buildings?
Dorchester's two-story depot, built in the 1870s, housed the station agent and his family upstairs
TIMES POLL: Which Era Had the Top Male Athletic Talent?