The town of Clearwaters's name isn't just an ordinary name. Clearwater means just like it sounds, it was named after the clear, sparkling water that runs through the Elkhorn Valley River that flowed south and east of town. One of the many indigenous tribes that lived in the area during the time named it. Although we don't know exactly which tribe, we do know that is one of the following; Arapaho, Arikara, Cheyenne, Comanche, Dakota, Fox, Iowa, Kansa or Kaw, Kiowa, Missouri, Omaha, Oto, Pawnee, Ponca, Sauk, Sioux, Winnebago
Although we don't have a depot in our town anymore, Clearwater used to be home to one. The first depot in Clearwater was built in 1881, but in 1933 it was sadly burned down by random fire. Soon after it was replaced, but once again it was destroyed in 1966 ending the railroad station era. Today the Clearwater town sign sits in the place the depot used to be.
The first house in Clearwater was built north of the railroad (where the cowboy trail currently is) by John Anderson with lumber hauled from the nearby town of Niobrara.
Over the years there have been a few grocery stores, but the very first one was opened by Dr. Tubbs and ,was the main store in Clearwater for a while. Years after Dr. Tubb's store closed, Joe's Market in Clearwater opened and ran up until a few years ago. On June 20, 2018, the Clearwater Market owned by townspeople of Clearwater opened in the old Antelope Memorial Clinic space and is still open today. It is currently run by
As of 2021, we don't have any drug stores in Clearwater, but back in the 1990's Frank Krenzien and his wife owned and operated the very first drug store in Clearwater. When it was torn down in 1995 E. M. Yaryan built a service station at this location. Many years later Dennis Herley took over, and the store is now called Herley's Collision and Repair.
Obviously Clearwater doesn't have sawmills anymore, but back in spring of 1871 G. H. McGee opened the very first sawmill in Clearwater.
Today we currently have 2 hair shops in our town, Got Style owned by Marsha Durre, and Roots owned by Jaci Bruhns. However, the very first barbershop in Clearwater was owned and ran for many years by George Meyer and Clyde Pane, and was a very popular place until its closing.
The first settler of Clearwater was Robert Marwood in 1870. In the summer & fall of 1872 others followed his example and settled in Clearwater as well.
As well as being the first settler in Clearwater, Robert Marwood was also the first to have a child, with his partner of course. His partner birthed the very first child in Clearwater, a daughter in November of 1871.
The first official marriage in our town was performed on Valentine's Day in 1876. Settlers, Calvin Stevens & Elvira Presser, were the first official couple to marry in Clearwater.
Rev. J. R. Wolfe was the first person to officiate a death in Clearwater. Tragically a young boy named James Choat was accidentally scalded to death, in November of 1872. Being in an agricultural-based town, farm incidents are 10x more likely to happen. The very first farm incident happened when a man named Charles Grow was killed by falling into a saw on April 27, 1874. Days later on May 1st, W. S. Metcalf died from the effects of being kicked by a horse, the week before.
Clearwater used to have one doctor's office, the Antelope County Memorial Clinic that operated until around 2017. Since their closing, there have been no clinics there, but back in the 1890's, there was one leading clinic led by James Walker Bernie.
Thank you to Mike Sanne, Cathy Cooper, & Greg Appleby for a majority of the following information!
For many years the village of Clearwater had no school, even though the town prioritized education above all else. Putnam Miller decided that he would take initiative and made a little school in the back of a drug store in 1882. The first official school in Clearwater was built in 1884 on Lot No. 5 in Block 4. Many parents loved this new school and it soon became overcrowded by 1890, since it was only a 2 room schoolhouse. So, they came up with the solution to build a new 4 room schoolhouse. The village continued to grow more and more, and the school began to be more crowded and crowded. Around 1910 talks of building a new, bigger school began to start. The voters agreed that they could add another building onto the school house, while they started to make their district fiscally sound.
During a routine school board meeting on June 14, 1915, it was decided that Juniors would be added to to the high school enrollment and an election would be held on June 28, 1915, to let the community vote for or against a new school bond to build a facility, in the amount of $13,500. The bond passed extremely well, with a vote of 126 in favor and 35 against. After a long discussion, they decided that they would build the new school on E. Luther site on the west side of town. This property is the current site of the Clearwater Public School. When the building was finished in 1916, it was reported that a total of 159 people were enrolled. Once again, the school became overcrowded so talk of a new school started. On April 24, 1924 the school board accepted bids to build two more wings onto the existing structure. The two wings were finished into time to only delay school 2 weeks in fall of 1924.
Once again the school became overcrowded and in 1935 the school board applied for federal grants to build a gym and an auditorium at the cost of $15,000. Taxpayers would be responsible for $9,000 of this, and grants would pay the other $6,000. The election was held on November 1, 1935 and the vote passed with an overwhelming 174 for the bond and 11 against the bond. Both additions were ready to use by fall of 1936. Years later state rules started to change so the school had to change as well. A new bid was constructed to build a new 7 room elementary building, a gym, bathrooms, storage areas, and lockers. The estimated cost of this structure was $197,000. On April 5, 1965, the vote once again passed.
In the years following, a few more changes were made. In 1971, a 50x50 shop was constructed at the cost of $10,000 and in 1976 a new music room was built between the 1936 gym and the original 1916 building. In 1986 the biggest construction project so far was brought to light. The school board wanted to build a new high school, library, gym, locker rooms, office, and a weight-deck/wrestling room. On July 29, the voters passed a $995,000 bond.
In 1999 Clearwater, Orchard, and Verdigre formed a Unified School District and this district remained in tact until June 5, 2020 when Ewing, Orchard, and Clearwater formed a new district called the Summerland Bobcats.
In 2005 Mr. Mike Sanne became principal of Clearwater Public Schools and remained principal until summer of 2021.
Clearwater remained the Clearwater Cardinals until they joined with the Orchard Orioles in 2009.
In 2009 the towns of Clearwater & Orchard first began co-opping all their sports together. They also reorganized under Unification and combined their 5-8 grades into one Middle School in Orchard and their 9-12 grades in one High School in Clearwater, in 2011. The Superintendent heading this district was Mr. Martin. The principal heading Clearwater High School was Mr. Sanne and the principal heading Orchard Middle School was also Mr. Martin for 2 years before Mrs. Cooper took over in 2012.
Mr. Dale Martin was the principal of Orchard Public Schools during the transition from the Orchard Orioles to the OC Cyclones. He took over as a full-time super in 2012. Mrs. Cathy Cooper began teaching in Orchard in 1989. Her first year as principal was the 2012-2013 school year and she will continue to be principal of the Elementary at Summerland Public Schools. Mr. Mike Sanne began his principal career at Clearwater Public Schools in 2005 and was the principal of Clearwater High School until 2021.
In 2017, Clearwater and Orchard ended their reorganization but remained a part of the NE Unified District #1. They continued to share sports and a few fine arts, but their academics were separate. Clearwater Public School continued under Unification until June 6, 2020, when Clearwater officially became a district with Ewing & Orchard. In November 2019 during a bond election, voters approved the consolidation of Clearwater, Ewing, and Orchard. After a suspenseful day, the bond passed in all three communities. Although there was lots of hesitation from farmers in the area worrying about their taxes going up, the bond passed in Clearwater 327-99. The new Summerland Public School is built between the communities of Clearwater, Ewing, and Orchard at the price of $34 million. At the time this history is being written, the school is currently 4 or 5 months away from being finished. (Published on April 21, 2021)
The Superintendent at Summerland Public Schools is Mr. Finke. He was the former Elementary principal at Battle Creek Public Schools. The Elementary Principal at Summerland is Mrs. Cooper, the former Orchard Public Schools Principal. The High School Principal at Summerland is Mr. Appleby, the former Ewing High School principal. Mr. Greg Appleby was the principal at Ewing High School for 20 years.
In our small town, religion is a staple of the community. Every Sunday you see families going to church and eating cinnamon sticks at the Highway Mart after. Currently, we have three Churches in our community; the Catholic Church led by Father John, the United Methodist Church led by Pastor Bruce Phillips, and the Lutheran Church led by Rev. Feusse.
Although we have fancy, big churches in our community now.....that wasn't always the case. The very first sermon to be preached was in 1971 by Methodist pastor Rev. Keith, who was known for traveling across Nebraska to preach.
Back in the 1980s, there were a total of 5 churches; the Lutheran Church led by Pastor D.L. Braunersreuther for 32 years, the Catholic Church, the Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church, and the recognized church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Clearwater has had many different newspapers. The very first one being, The Clearwater Headlight. The Clearwater Headlight only lasted a short time and was discontinued in 1887. Shortly after, the Clearwater Record came to print, before it was replaced by The Clearwater Record-Ewing News, then that paper was replaced by the Antelope County News, and then that paper was replaced by the Summerland Advocate-Messenger.
Thank You to LuAnn Schindler for all the information on the Summerland Advocate-Messenger.
All other information was found on the Antelope County News Website & UNL CASDE Clearwater, Nebraska.
In 1902 a telephone system was installed. Electric lights soon came to Clearwater in 1916 with William McDonald using a gasoline engine for power. In 1925 a better power system was developed and the city kept on improving. Natural gas soon arrived in 1953 and a sewer system was developed in 1961. Direct-dial phones also were put in place, although many people don't use them today because of cell phones.
Clearwater has a long history of Record Holders within the community. The Clearwater Cardinals had won many basketball championships throughout the years, but not all of the years are listed so they aren't listed here either. Only individual champions are listed below. If you would like your name or your family's name to be listed please message us on the website or use our contact us page to get ahold of us.
Track & Field Champions:
The Clearwater Rodeo was co-founded in 1967 by Larry Parker, Steve Patrias, and Jim Tonniges. It has been named number one rodeo in a three-state area multiple times, the latest being 2020. In 2017 the arena was dedicated to Gene Snodgrass, who has served as chairman since the late 1980s. This year will be the 54th annual Clearwater Rodeo. The current big headliner is Riley Green with Tyler Rich and the Dylan Bloom Band as supporting acts.