Henderson Heritage & Tourism was formed in 1994 with the purpose of sharing and documenting Henderson’s Mennonite heritage.  In the spring of 1998 the committee purchased an 8 1/2 acre site that was homesteaded by Jacob & Anna Friesen, one of the original settlers, on the north edge of Henderson.  Today this is the site of the Henderson Mennonite Heritage Park.


The site located just north of Henderson includes a replica building of the original Immigrant House built by the Burlington Railroad that housed the first Mennonite settlers in the area. Lincoln architect Jim Dyck donated his services developing the site layout. Facing the Immigrant House at the opposite end of the park is the Country Mennonite Church built to resemble a typical country church that both branches of the Mennonites built in rural Henderson in the late 1800’s.

The park also features a turn of the century farm house, summer kitchen, granary, outdoor oven, windmill, water tower, outhouses, chicken house and fully restored barn built in 1911. Nestled in the back corner of the park is a metal machine shed housing large pieces of equipment and a shop.

The Visitor’s Center called The General Store is located on the Main Street at the park and is an air-conditioned and heated building with public restrooms, office, gift shop, basement storage and display area.  The original District #73E Country School house is located at the park and is fully restored and available for school field trips and other educational activities.  A replica building of the original Henderson railroad depot is filled with railroad artifacts, historical pictures and equipment.


Original Layout

72 thoughts on “Home”

  1. This is a very nice blog site. It should be better publicized! I just happened to stumble across it while looking for something else. I’m very proud of all the work that has gone into the Heritage Park to preserve Henderson’s Mennonitee history for our young people and the community-at-large.

  2. I love to see community gatherings like this. The sense of belonging gets lost in big city life

  3. Karen Suderman said:

    Is it possible to have a list of those first Mennonite families?

    • Yes Karen. I will email this information to you.

      • Katharina Bueckert said:

        Would you mind emailing the list of those first Mennonites families to me too? Thank you

      • I would also love to see a copy of that list. I have requested the book “From Holland To Henderson” and I sent a check several weeks ago. The check has not been processed and I have no idea if the book will be on its way soon. Can you give me an update?

    • Sharlyn Elizabeth Kroeker said:

      Could I also see that list? We are Kroekers from Jansen, Ne. I have heard there are many Kroekers in Henderson. I wonder if way back, we are related to the Henderson Kroekers.

      • Yes it is. I will pass this message on to one of our volunteers who has this info. Thanks for your interest

      • Lynda Edwards. said:

        I have a friend who has a copy of the book “Henderson Mennonites” He found a family which might be the family you are looking for. Do you have access to that book? If not let me know and I can send you what information there is about that family.

      • Thanks for your interest. I will forward your question to one of our volunteers who will get back to you.

      • Hi Sharlyn, There are some Kroekers living in this area. If you could give me more information regarding your ancestors (grandparents or great-grandparents who are deceased) on the Kroeker side along with a birthdate or two, I will look on our genealogy program to see if any of your ancestors settled in this area and let you know what I find. Thanks for your interest!

  4. tundramoosie2 said:

    My grandfather, John Regier, was born in Henderson. My husband and I are planning to drive through Henderson in March or April 2015. Is there a way to stop in and find out more about my family?

  5. Christine Mierau Certain said:

    My father’s family came from Henderson. I would also like to know the names of the first families..

  6. My ancestors came from Henderson too Johann and Agatha Enns (Hooge) he later Married Katharina PENNER after he was widowed. Let me say that once we were driving cross country and were in an accident and my wife ended up in the hospital in York across the highway. I didn’t know for the longest time why we felt the way we did while in that area but we hated to leave…years later I found out why when I realized that that’s where my ancestors settled. I bet I still have relatives around there.

    • What a nice story. Stop by the park sometime and use our Grandma genealogy program to look up your relatives.

    • Dawn Buller Pierce said:

      My great great grandmother married a Johann Hooge after she was widowed. Her first married last name was Wiens. Her first husband died enroute to America when the were immigrating through Asia from Prussia. After arriving in Buhler Kansas she married Johann Hooge.
      Any thing sound familiar? We may be related.

  7. Joe Nelle said:

    Last month I blew a tire on my trailer on I 80. When we got off the interstate at henderson it was close to 5 pm. No place in sight for help. Two young ladies came by at the gas station/liqour store and asked if we needed help. They not only gave my crew (rv, trailer, truck and harley trike on trailer) directions into the local coop but drove ahead to make sure we made it. The crew at the coop were extremely kind and considerate. I bought 3 tires and the work on the wheel removal was done. The rims were extremely rusted on but the people at the coop did the work. Then to top it off after they were going over closing time stayed open so we could gas up. For the above mentioned I want to thank all of you for making my dilemma not so bad. I will make it my mission that if I’m ever going by henderson that I’ll stop to say hello. Thanks again, Joe Nelle

  8. Susan Hirsch said:

    Hi! I enjoyed reading this site and it makes me want to visit. I originally looked Henderson up because I purchased a small pitcher with the name on the bottom in a circle with the word DART in the center. I like the shape and finish. Would anyone have more information on this piece? Thank you.

  9. Although, my relatives are not from Henderson, I believe there is a connection. I’ve been living in Nebraska for the last 15 years, and one of these days I’m going to make it down to your museum. My roots from my mother and father’s side came from the Ukraine colonies and settled around Hillsboro, ks in 1874. As far as we can go back (early 17th century) it appears my relatives were mostly mennonite. When they moved to Kansas they became Holdamen Mennonites. My parents were expelled and only 1 sibling I have joined, but she just recently left the church. I know that the scouts looked for land in Nebraska, Kansas, Dakotas and Canada for places to live, so I’m quite certain there is some common ground between us.

  10. Paul Nachtigall said:

    Thank you for your information about Henderson, I have been reading about my background. My father, Elmer Victor Nachtigall was born in Henderson in 1915. I have never been to Nebraska, grew up in California and spent most of my life in Hawaii. I would very much like to visit my father’s birthplace some time. Is there a record of my family? My grandfather was Abraham Benjamin Nachtigall and my grandmother on that side was Lydia Heiser Nachtigall.

    Paul E. Nachtigall

    • Dawn Buller Pierce said:

      My father, John Buller, was born in Henderson in 1914. He said his family (Buller/Friesen) was good friends with Nachtigalls. I bet our dads knew eachother!

    • Lynda Edwards said:

      Nachtigall not my family. I am doing research for a good friend. Have traced his family back to Benjamin J. Nachtigall married Anna Mary Tines. Family moved to South Dakota between 1900 and 1910. Has anyone traced the Nachtigall family back to the Old Country? Lynn would love to be in contact with them.

  11. kim cosby said:

    I was a young girl broke down on interstate this town took me in gave me a place to live got me a job and bought me groceries went above and beyond this was in the mid 70s I don’t remember anyone’s name but there was a minister that had some type of girls school what a great town

  12. Terri Zimmerman said:

    Is there a Menonite store or farmers market? Terriz1260@gmail.com

    • The Heritage Park has its own Visitors Center/General Store where many Mennonite related books, artwork, gifts and locally handmade items are sold. Local ethnic foods are also served at the General Store. In Henderson there is a local Farmers Market every Tuesday from 5 – 7 PM. Open Hours at the General Store at the park are Tuesday – Saturday from 1 – 4 PM.

  13. Jimmy Barber said:

    Thank you for such a great site and all of it’s information! My ancestors were part of the original (i believe..) 35 families that settled there in 1874. Peter Abrahams and Helena (Heinrichs) Abrahams came over from Molotschna on the Teutonia. Their daughter, Anna Abrahams, married my 3rd Great Grandfather Andreas Nachtigall (Great Grandfather to Mr. Paul Nachtigall above). Their son, Andrew, married Anna Fast whom I have had trouble locating very much information on save a few photos I have form my mother… If you have any information regarding the Nachtigalls, Abrahams, or Fast families that settled there I would be forever grateful to hear of it!!

    • Thanks for your comments. We will get back to you about your request for information about your family!

      • anita carey said:

        Jimmy Barber – I have information about the families who came over in 1874 on the Teutonia and would love to talk with you more about your request. you can contact me at ajoycarey@cox.net

      • Dawn Buller Pierce said:

        Anna Carey! I believe my great grandfather John P. Friesen came over in 1874 on the Teutonia!!! He was around 14?

    • Dawn Buller Pierce said:

      My great great great grandmother’s maiden name was Fast. Katharina Fast 1807–1844. Her father was Gerhard Fast and her mother was Helena Weib. Weib is questionable. I’m thinking Weibe or Wiens. I did find info on Gerhard Fast who was married to Helene Unger and on of their children was Anna Fast and she was born in the mid-1800s. Maybe your Anna and my Katherina are sisters or cousins?

      • Anita Plett Carey said:

        Dawn Buller Pierce: If you would still like to talk about relatives who came over to Henderson on the Teutonia, let me know. I have found ship records of three John (Johann) Friesens, one who was age 55 from Alexanderwohl, one age 9 from Sparau, Russia and one age 8 (parents Jacob and Anna) from Alexanderwohl, Russia. my email is ajoycarey@cox.net

  14. Lauren Friesen said:

    Book of memories by someone born and raised in Henderson: Prairie Lands, Private Landscapes by Lauren Friesen is now available on http://www.amazon.com.

  15. Where is the rock located that marks the place of the immigrant house. I have pictures of it taken with my children. I am 86 years old and was born in Henderson. I think I remember when the rock was placed there. My dad was David P. Friesen a long time teacher in Henderson public school. His parents were original settlers and lived in the immigrant house.

  16. George and Adelina Wiebe said:

    We happened to see your museum last last May on our road trip and stopped in. Our Mennonite background is from Manitoba but we still had a very enjoyable visit and really liked the aprons we bought. Thanks

    • Katharina Bueckert said:

      Hi George & Adelina, do you know if there is anything like this available for those that settled in Canada? My Grandparents were born in Canada. I’m trying to find out about our History.

      • George and Adelina Wiebe said:

        There is a museum in Steinbach, MB called the Mennonite Heritage Village. They would have some information

  17. Tammy Lea Taylor said:

    My family, and Great Grandparents were the Mr. and Mrs. Henry Traut (Trout) who purchased Lot Three Block Five in 1893. I’m trying to locate where in Henderson this was located.. Any suggestions? Magdalena Traut, the wife, nee’ Burkhardt was widowed when Henry was shot in the back at a grain Silo….Anyone have info, I have a copy of the newspaper clipping.

    • We will try and find that out for you-

      • We found a Henderson plat map from 1971 and according to that description it is 1330 11th Street. We are not familiar with a Traut living in that part of town but would be interested in a copy of the newspaper clipping you have. Either email it or send to Henderson Heritage & Tourism PO Box 336 Henderson, NE 68371

  18. Kathy Goering said:

    We wondered if you had a chance to look through the Swiss Volhynian Favorite Recipes books we left there for you. Contact Kathy Goering kjgo@mtelco.net.

  19. Lauren Friesen said:

    You have two different addresses listed and one is in error (according to my post office staff). It should be 720 Road B and not 702 Road B.

  20. sharraye said:

    My mother was born in Henderson in 1927. Her family names are Penner and Dick.
    I’ve visited Henderson once. I’d love to return someday.

  21. Nathan Green said:

    My Grandmother grew up in Henderson and taught at the little school in town after she graduated before heading to Tabor college. She is in one of the pictures in the school. Her family lived in town and their house is still standing.

  22. Roger Friesen said:

    I would also like a copy of the original family names. Thanks for your help with this request.

  23. Sheryl Hatch said:

    Is it possible to have a list of those first Mennonite families? My grandfather Jacob H. Penner was born there and his parents were Heinrich H. Penner and Anna Abrahams Penner. Do you also have information of the steamship “State of Nevada” on which they came to america on.

    • Aldena Siebert said:

      Sheryl, thank you for your interest in your ancestors who came here. There were Mennonite families coming mostly to this area from 1874-1879. There were 200+ immigrants coming in 1874 and 116 in 1875, including your ancestors. As you can see, the lists are quite lengthy. Can you be more specific what list you would like? I did find some info on the S.S. State of Nevada but could not find a picture of it. This is what I found: “The State of Nevada was built by the London & Glasgow Co in 1874 for the British owned State Line. She was a 2,488 gross ton ship, length 332.1 ft x beam 36.3 ft, one funnel, 3 masts, iron construction, single screw and a speed of 12 knots. There was passenger accommodation for 75 – 1st; 30 – intermediate and 550 – 3rd class. Launched on 2nd Jun. 1874, she sailed from Glasgow on 19th Jul 1874 on her maiden voyage to Larne and New York. She started her 5th and last voyage on this route on 19th Dec 1874 and was then chartered to the Red Star Line and commenced the first of 7 Antwerp-New York sailings on 27th Feb 1875, the last starting 11th Dec 1875.”

  24. Hi, have been posting on the Mennonite Genealogy website and would like to talk with you concerning copyright for the book Forever Summer, Forever Sunday originally written by my relatives, Gerhard Rempel. I’d like to post a listing of plates in the back so people can tell if they want to purchase or not. If you could be of help my email is menno2lady@aol.com, or if you prefer, 970-736-1219. Vanessa Regehr Woodford.

  25. Jeff Troyer said:

    My great grandfather was Claus j huebert . He was born in henderson in 1888. My grandfather was Irwin bullet also born in henderson. He married Freda huebert . They left for freso, reedley area of California around 1935. My mother Janice Buller was born in reedley in 1938. I believe both the buller and huebert families were of the original 35 families. Can you confirm? Thank you

    • Suzanne F Ratzlaff said:

      Jeff, the Henderson Mennonite Heritage Park has a specialist who has been researching the original 35 families. I will have her respond to your request for information.

      • Aldena Siebert said:

        Jeff, do you know the names of your ancestors who immigrated from Russia to the Henderson area? This would help to narrow down the number of families to research and thus be able to answer your questIon.

  26. Suzanne F Ratzlaff said:

    Jeff, is this your Huebert great-grandfather?

    Claus J Huebert
    Record information.
    Birth 6 Dec 1888 Henderson, York, Nebraska, USA
    Marriage 14 Nov 1912 Henderson, York, Nebraska, USA
    Residence 1947 Fresno, Fresno, California, USA
    Death 6 May 1972 Fresno, Fresno, California, USA
    Record information.
    Father Johann Huebert (1852-1932)
    Mother Sara Buller (1852-1925)
    Spouse Katharina Kornelsen (1893-1984)

  27. Jackie Wolfe said:

    I am looking at taking family pictures at the heritage park this weekend. Is there a cost or do I need to let you guys know when and the time? If you could email me back that would be great!

    • Suzanne Ratzlaff said:

      Jackie, Thanks for checking with us. There is no charge for taking photos at the park, but if you are able, we do appreciate a small donation. Nothing is going on at the park this Saturday, so enjoy! The place is yours!

  28. Nancy O’Connor said:

    Hi, my name is Nancy O’Connor. I am the granddaughter of Susie Isaacs Ronne. I believe her family members might have been some of the first immigrants in the area. Can you verify this? Thanks!

    • Aldena Siebert said:

      Hi Nancy. I found that your grandmother Susie’s father, Dietrich R. Isaac, born in 1870 in So. Russia, immigrated with his parents in July 1874. They most likely settled in Jefferson County, Nebraska according to our Mennonite genealogy database. It appears Susie’s parents married in Sept. 1893, probably in Jefferson Co. Susie’s oldest brother Henry was born in Jefferson Co. as well. It appears Dietrich’s father and step-mother moved to York County, Nebraska sometime between Aug 1893 and March 1897, so Dietrich, wife Elisabeth (Regier) and family may have moved to York Co. around this same time. I hope this helps with your verification.

  29. Nancy: I will pass this on to our volunteers who work with genealogy and get back to you. Thanks for contacting us!

    • Aldena Siebert said:

      Hi Nancy. My apology for not responding to you sooner. Do you have the birthdate of your grandmother Susie Isaacs Ronne? This will help in my research of her family and see if they were some of the first immigrants in the area. Thanks

  30. Jean Good said:

    My husband and I are staying at Prarie Oasiis rv camp tonight and we’re hoping to visit your museum. His family are members of the Church of the Brethern in Central PA with possible links to the Mennonites. Hoping you are open until 5 pm so we have time to visit.

    • Here is Suzanne’s number to call to see if someone can stay that long: 402-694-8669. Thanks for checking us out. We normally stay open until 4PM but can schedule an appointment if there is a volunteer around.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s