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Throwback Thursday: Old Town Site Within a State Park?

Did you know that one of our Nebraska state park lands actually has an old town site within its boundaries? Know which state park it is? Here’s the sign denoting the old town site that has couple reconstructed buildings.

StDeroinsign

One of them is a reconstructed schoolhouse.

stderoinschool

There’s also a reconstructed mercantile.

Stderoingeneralstore

And, a reconstructed cabin near the old town site.

cabin

Founded by Native Americans of mixed heritage to serve their reservation, this town sprung up around a trading post and was named in 1853 after a trader – Joseph Deroin (1819-1858).

Photograph of Joseph De Roin, founder of St. Deroin, Nebraska, ca. 1855. Photo Source: Ioway Cultural Institute: Genealogy/Ancestral Photo Album.
Photograph of Joseph De Roin, founder of St. Deroin, Nebraska, ca. 1855. Photo Source: Ioway Cultural Institute: Genealogy/Ancestral Photo Album.

Deroin, a controversial and overbearing character, was the son of a French-Canadian trapper and an Otoe woman.  Interestingly, a small trading post was already established in the area when the Lewis and Clark expedition came up the river in 1804. Formally chartered in 1854,  the town had a popular ferry crossing over the Missouri River for more than 30 years and was also an important steamboat river landing. European settlers eventually moved around Deroin’s trading post in large number and most likely named the town St. Deroin, hoping to connect it to the downriver cities of St. Joseph and St. Louis. A U. S. Post Office operated in the town from 1861 to 1910. In the early 1920s, the town site was abandoned due to spring flooding, an ever-shifting river channel, an outbreak of cholera and a railroad spur that bypassed it. The only exception was the brick schoolhouse which was disassembled and moved to higher ground. Joseph Deroin was killed in 1858 by a white settler in a dispute over money owed ($6.00 for a pig). He was reportedly buried alongside his horse in the town cemetery.

Though there isn’t much left of it, St. Deroin is located within the northern border of this state park and is marked by one of the older cemeteries in Nebraska where legends abound.

stderoincemetery

Do you know the park yet? One more hint – a photo.

boardwalk

Here’s the answer, the name of the park, spelled backwards:

.evaC naidnI

It’s a history-filled, scenic state park, you’ll have to visit it sometime, hopefully soon!

About greg wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Public Information Officer and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media channels, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!

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