Read All About It: The Hall County Nebraska Newspaper Digitization Project

By: Jeffrey Kiley - Advantage Archives
Phase one of the Hall County Newspaper Digitization Project is finished. Seven newspapers dating back to the 1870s can now be found online through their Digital Community History Archive!

Last May, we highlighted a project that would digitize historical Hall County, Nebraska newspapers ranging from 1870 to the early 2000s, and providing free online access to those historical pages. Today we are thrilled to announce that the first phase of this project has been completed, and now more than 105,000 of these papers of the past are available for anyone to explore!

In the past several days, a number of news outlets have covered this community’s efforts to bring Hall County’s past into the present.  KSNB Local 4 in Hastings, Nebraska shared the story with its viewers on February 13th: You Can Watch The Video And Read The Article Here As a part of the story, they interviewed Michelle Setlik, from the Hall County Historical Society.

The earliest records of the history of our community are found in the newspapers, “That’s really what we want, is we want people to be able to go out and find these old newspapers, and search through and find out where we came from, and how we got to be where we are today.”

~Michelle Setlik, Hall County Historical Society

The same day, The Grand Island Independent also spotlighted the efforts of the several groups that have come together to make Hall County’s history more accessible. The article outlines the Hall County Newspaper Digitization project which was launched last Spring.

Watch The Story From KSNB News: “Groups digitize historic Hall County newspapers”

You Can Read The Full Article From The Independent Here. The goal of the project is to digitize the 28 historic newspapers published in Hall County since 1870 and also to make them accessible to the public through an Advantage Community History Archive, where they will be free for anyone to access online. The Independent first reported on the project in May of 2019.

Explore The Hall County Community History Archive

By exploring the Community History Archive, the community will be able to read “history as it happened”, that was written by those who witnessed it first hand… and Hall County has a deep and rich history to be explored.

The “History Of Hall County” published on the Hall County Government pageHall County was established in 1858 and covered an area from the South channel of the Platte River North, including Howard County and West, including parts of Buffalo and Dawson Counties. In 1871 the county boundaries were changed, leaving Hall county with the present 552 square miles. In 1858, the population stood at 116. It grew to 1,057 in 1870, 4,414 in 1875, 8,562 in 1880 and 48,925 in 1990. In 1868, Grand Island was voted the county seat.

The county was named after Augustus Hall, an early judge of this territory

The Hall County newspaper digitization project was also explored in an interview with Michelle, as well as Fred Roser, which was conducted on the Good Life on Nebraska TV. NTV’s Good Life is a local talk show that runs from 9-10am Monday-Friday on NTV, covering a wide variety of topics ranging from cooking, parenting, health and more. It provides another look at how the community has completely embraced the effort, and how like-minded groups and individuals have come together to provide access to their collective history.

The Community History Archives are user-friendly and easy to learn. The Advantage team has focused on making it as simple as possible so that everyone…from students to grandparents (and everyone in between) can browse, search, view, clip and share articles, headlines, pages, and stories recorded in the pages of the community newspaper. Users of the site are able to just type a search and hit “enter” or create a more complex search by using the query builder. There is also the ability to simply browse to a specific year, month, day or page in any (or all) publications contained in the archive.

This project would not be possible without the generous financial support of the community.

Watch The Story Aired By NTV – Good Life: Digitizing History

Hall County extends a special thank you to the following individuals and organizations who sponsored individual newspapers or provided major gifts.

Newspaper Sponsors:

Cinda Baxter – Grand Island Independent 1884 Donna Moyer – Wood River Sunbeam Eric Nielsen – Wood River Gazette Michelle Setlik – Platte Valley Independent Wood River Centennial Community Foundation – Wood River Interests

Major Gifts:

Grand Island Public Library Foundation Greater ​Grand Island Community Foundation Hall County Historical Society Prairie Pioneer Genealogical Society ​Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer

Get Involved:

If you’d like to make a donation or to sponsor a Hall County newspaper, you can do so online at www.hallnehistory.com/store, or write a check to the Hall County Historical Society, 603 N. Plum St., Grand Island, NE 68801.

Connect Your Community To Its History! Explore A Partnership With Advantage & Discover “History As it Happened “. Use the form below to connect with us, and let’s discuss way’s we can ensure your local history is easily accessible!