The site for Nemaha, with the Little Nemaha River facing the south and the Missouri River on the east, was selected in 1854 and was incorporated and approved by an act of the territorial legislature in the 1855-1856 term.
Nemaha was busy during the Civil War as a station of the Underground Railroad for smuggling slaves to the North. Many were ferried across the River, hid in Nemaha attics by day, and headed north to Nebraska City at night.
Dr. Jerome Hoover, credited as being the town’s founder, donated a public square to the town. The park is still in use today. Nemaha Schools began in 1857 and continued until 1966, when it merged with Stella to form the Southeast Consolidated Schools. Nemaha was incorporated in January 1856.
A visit with any old timer from Nebraska will lead you to the site of an original Lewis and Clark Camp (it is not marked) a tall grass prairie and large city park for picnics, games, and old fashioned community gatherings. This is the last stop before Indian Cave Park, 9 miles south on Highway 67 and last chance for refreshments of groceries in Nemaha’s Only Stop, located downtown.
Indian Cave State Park is just south of Nemaha named for the large sandstone cavity that is the main geological feature. The Cave dates back several thousand years and its walls are etched with ancient petroglyphs. The mighty Missouri River edges the eastern border of this unique natural and historical park. The first tract was acquired in 1962 and the park now covers over 3,399 acres. The park offers horseback trail rides and over 22 miles of hiking trails as well as fishing from the banks of the Missouri. Camping is available year round including campsites with electricity. The RV campground has 134 units with electrical hookups. Other amenities include restrooms, showers, laundry, picnic tables and fire rings.
The now reconstructed river settlement of St. Deroin, within the State Park, shows the first townsite in Nemaha County passed by Lewis and Clark in 1804. The Heritage Program brings the town alive with old-time crafts, soap-making, candle-dipping and broom making within the restored structures.