Duncan, Platte County, Nebraska

Duncan is a town about 8 miles west of Columbus. Early on, its post office was known as Cherry Hill. The Union Pacific Railroad ran through the area and named it Jackson. It later became Duncan named after a railroad employee. Duncan is between the Loup and Platte Rivers and has fertile soil. The lands surrounding the railroad were inexpensive. Swiss immigrants and easterners settled here and by 1870, Polish immigrants had also arrived. The earliest of the Polish settlers were the families of Valentine Jarecki, Anthony Mikolajczyk, John Rosno, Joseph Rosno, and Valentine Lasek. One source added the families of Lawrence Kujawa and Adam Jarecki to the list of Polish pioneers but their names were not found in the 1870 US Census. Life was not easy for the pioneers. Natural disasters like tornadoes, wildfires, blizzards, grasshoppers, and drought made life challenging. The initial Polish pioneers were from Prussian Poland (just west of Bydgoszcz). They were joined by settlers from Galicia (just east of Tarnow).

Duncan played a role in the "Jay Gould Affair". Platte County officials in Columbus granted other railroads permission to be built in order to spur economic growth. This was bad news for Jay Gould who ran the Union Pacific Railroad which up to this time had a monopoly in the area. When he didn't get his way to stop development of the competition, he threatened to destroy Columbus economically. He followed through by having his railroads by-pass Columbus. This made Duncan the heir-apparent for economic growth. Duncan's new found prosperity only lasted about two years. The by-pass involved a bridge over the Loup River. The bridge was destroyed by ice during spring flooding in 1881. Replacement of a bridge every couple of years was deemed too expensive. Columbus again became the important railroad center.

While there were churches of other denominations established in Duncan, the Poles established a catholic church in 1882 under the patronage of St. Stanislaus. Before this, their closest church was in Columbus and the parish priest did not speak Polish.

Duncan is served by the St. Stanislaus Catholic Church. The map shows where Duncan and church are located. Like other maps of this series, you can zoom in or out and change to satellite view or map view.