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More photos:
Florence History Garden Group Photo
Click to see several more

Also for 2005:
Florence History Garden Group Photo
Florence Days Photos

Florence History Garden Group Photo
(44) Florence Days Parade Photos

Morn. Twilight: 5:41 A.M.
Sunrise: 6:12 A.M.
Sunset: 8:47 P.M.
Duration: 14h, 35m
Eve. Twilight: 9:19 A.M.
Visible Light: 15h, 38m

"Florence History Garden Markers"

Located at 8515 North 30th Street, ((Google Maps and Satellite maps logo))

One of the plaques at the Florence History Garden.

A Little Town That Dreamed Of Greatness.

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A Little Town That Dreamed of Greatness

Florence was born after the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act expanded lands west of the Missouri River to speculators and settlers. Built on the grounds of Winter Quarters, founder James C. Mitchell named the town after his granddaughter Florence Kilbourne. The little town dreamed of greatness, hoping for a bridge across the Missouri River and a railroad. Florence was even capitol of Nebraska Territory for one glorious week, January 9-16, 1858.

The town prospered as a supplier of goods and services to pioneers heading west. European immigrants landed here by riverboat before starting their long trek to Utah, California or Oregon with handcarts or wagon.

Boom turned to bust with the Financial Panic of 1857. Florence was on the verge of economic collapse by 1860. The Union Pacific Railroad chose Omaha City as its terminus. A bridge across the Missouri River looked unlikely. The territorial capitol did not return to Florence. Its population decreased.

A new wave of immigrants traveling on the historic Mormon Trail revived the community's economy. Florence became the official outfitting town for the 1860-1863 "Down & Back" wagon trains originating in Salt Lake City. Florence served America's westward migration until railroad transportation ended the era of Overland Pioneer Trails.

Florence remained a separate town until it was annexed by the city of Omaha in 1917. A bridge spanning the Missouri River became a reality in 1953, nearly 100 years after Florence's founder, J.C. Mitchell, first promoted the idea.

Images (L to R).

Mormons crossing the plains with handcarts from Florence, Nebraska to Salt Lake City, 1856.
by George Simon, Courtesy Council Bluffs Main Library.

Steamer Omaha Landing Mormons at Florence, Nebraska in the spring of 1854. This sketch was drawn by George Simmons, the cook for General Granville Dodges's surveying crew.
Courtesy of the Council Bluffs Main Library

The Florence Band, 1897.
???? Unknown Photographer