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History

Osceola was founded in October 1871 by William Francis Kimmell and John Hopwood Mickey. Osceola received its name from Vinson Perry Davis, an early settler on the Davis Creek which runs through Osceola. Davis felt it would be unique to say, "I moved from Osceola, Iowa, to Osceola, Nebraska."

In 1872 the first courthouse (modest frame structure) was completed on March 20; the first frame store was built in May; the post office building was built in June; and the first school house built of sod was completed in December. The Methodist congregation was organized in 1872 and a wooden frame church was built in 1878. This was the first church building and congregation in Osceola.

The first newspaper was printed on August 27, 1873, and was called the Homesteader. On March 1, 1876, the name was changed to The Osceola Record, and in 1995 it became the Polk County News.

The drought years of 1893 to 1895 created untold hardships on many settlers. In 1895 Osceola was the victim of a destructive fire which lasted for two hours and destroyed all but two buildings.

Osceola has the honor of being the home of three former Nebraska governors - Albinus Nance, John Hopwood Mickey, and Ashton Shallenberger.

A new high school was built in 1975 with a new athletic complex completed in 1982.

Library

The Osceola Public Library is a state-accredited library. A new addition was completed in 1998, doubling the space to 3,190 square feet. The library contains 9,000 volumes of books, more than 750 videos, 197 audio books, CD-ROMs, 43 magazine subscriptions, and a large variety of cakepans. The library offers a wide variety of services, such as inter-library loan, children's story hour, television with VCR, copy machine, computers, First Search, and Internet. For further information call (402) 747-4301.

Topography

The terrain is level to gently rolling. The soil is rich, black loam and sandy loam which is excellent for crop production. Drainage is good to the Blue River, Davis Creek, and the Platte River.

Climate

The average annual temperature is 50 degrees while the temperature ranges from a mean of 23 degrees in January to a mean of 77 degrees in July. The average annual precipitation is 28 inches.

Fire/Rescue

Fire protection is provided to the community by a 25-member volunteer fire department. Rural fire protection is also provided by the department within a 90-square mile area surrounding Osceola on a mutual-aid basis. The fire insurance classification inside the corporate limits and a surrounding five-mile radius is 8; outside it is 9.

Law Enforcement

Police Department: Osceola is contracted with the Polk County Sheriff's Department for law enforcement in the community.

Sheriff's Department: The Polk County Sheriff's Department, located in Osceola, is staffed by four sworn officers and seven support personnel. Regular patrol by the sheriff's department provides protection to Polk County.

State Patrol: Troop C of the Nebraska State Patrol is headquartered in Grand Island, 49 miles west, and serves 17 counties. There are two patrolmen serving the area.

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