Belvidere is the home of the Thayer County Museum. On the way to the museum, you’ll find an excellent train watching station with a fine picnic area.
Belvidere is in the north central area of Thayer County and one mile east of Highway 81 and is an agricultural area with dry land and irrigated crop land raising corn, soybeans, milo, and alfalfa.
Airports in the region are Hebron, Lincoln, Omaha, and Grand Island.
Union Pacific Railroad, with double tracks, runs through Belvidere. The ABC Railroad, named alphabetically with Alexandria, Belvidere, Carleton, and Davenport, is in Thayer County and continues on to Hastings and beyond. Sometimes the Union Pacific sends its antique steam engine 844 through town and it can be viewed at the new train watching stand.
Belvidere and the surrounding area are rich in history dating back to the Indian encampments along the Big Sandy Creek. Old timers would tell of finding Indian artifacts in the area. It is said that Indians camped here for protection from the elements and to be near water.
- *As you enter Belvidere, you will see the second oldest church building in Thayer County. Now known as the United Church of Christ, it was built in 1886, and still has the original ornamental tin ceiling. This year the members will celebrate 125 years of existence.
- *The “Miracle on Main Street” is the park where old unsightly buildings were torn down on the east side. They were replaced with Memorial Park and gazebo, flowers, trees, shrubs and a beautiful white fence.
- *Across the street on the northwest corner, the old brick bank building stood. It was in poor condition, so it was torn down. The original facing was incorporated into the State Bank of Belvidere monument. Landscaping was added and white fencing.
- *The filling station was built in 1923 along the Meridian Highway that went through the center of town. The highway was moved one mile west and is now U.S. Highway 81.
- *Across the railroad tracks is the site for the Belvidere Train Watching Station.
- *Up the hill is the Water Tower built in the late 1920’s. Fire was a real threat before this improvement was made.
- *The Belvidere Community Center was built in 2001. All funds for this were donated by area residents, clubs, businesses and alumni. It is a great location for family reunions with access to the museum grounds with its FortyNiner
The old brick school building, built in 1920, was made into the original Thayer County Museum and is now three floors of Thayer County History. A “must see” is the old gymnasium where students once played. A number of worthwhile exhibits including an old mill wheel built in 1875 that was once used to generate power for a grinding stone. In 1977 it was raised from the muddy banks of Spring Branch Creek near
Hubbell. The wheel measures 17 foot in diameter. Labeled Leffel’s Double Turbine Water Wheel, it was moved to the museum grounds in 2011.
The Museum Annex was built in 2004 as a part of the museum complex. The genealogy files are found here and are also where cataloging of artifacts is done. Each of the eleven towns in the county has an exhibit booth telling the story of their town. The Big Red Barn was built in 2010. It houses old machinery and other items pertaining to farming. The old one room school house features a black board, desks and many items found in the original school houses of the past.z
The 1967 vintage Caboose 25632 from the Union Pacific Railroad weighs 36 tons and was acquired in 1989. One block east, you will find Belvidere’s Centennial Park created in 1967, honoring Nebraska’s Centennial celebration. This area was the original winter home of the Bill Lewis Traveling Road Show. Original slabs of cement are visible and the old bridge is still standing. Two blocks east, you will find Belvidere’s Cemetery with graves dating back to 1877.
*Restrooms available at the Museum Annex