North Bend Eagle



Peace and People:
Tranquility, friendliness seen as Morse Bluff strengths

by Mary Le Arneal
published 8/13/08

According to the 2000 census, Morse Bluff is home to 128 people. Driving around the town there are obvious signs of pride in the village. Why do the Bluffites live there? What do they like best about their little hometown?

Shandra Dauel, 7, was riding her bike to Centennial Park in the center of town on a hot afternoon. She has lived in Morse Bluff all her life.

“There are nice people in town,” Shandra said. “It’s a good place to live.”

Watch a slideshow of pictures take of Morse Bluff by clicking here.

Kaitlyn Anderson, 10, will be a fifth grader at North Bend Elementary in the fall. She has lived in Morse Bluff for five years. When Kaitlyn goes to school, she catches the bus at Centennial Park, and she thought the park was one of the best features of Morse Bluff.

Drew Walker, 44, lives east of Morse Bluff in Whitetail Cove. He works in Lincoln and his wife works in Wahoo. Walker, who grew up in a small town in Iowa, and his family moved to the Morse Bluff area three years ago from Wahoo.

“We like the church and its congregation,” Walker said of St. George Catholic Church.

The Walkers have become involved in Platte Valley Kids 4-H Club in Morse Bluff. Walker’s son Jake got to know the kids and enjoys FFA so he transferred to North Bend Central. The other Walker children attend Wahoo schools where their mother teaches.

Walker said Morse Bluff neighbors let Jake use their resources for his FFA and 4-H projects.

“It’s pretty laid back,” Walker said about his adopted hometown. “I enjoy living here.”

Carrie Spohn, 59, has lived in Morse Bluff for 15 years and said she enjoys the peacfulness of the village and the willingness of its residents to help out in stressful times.

“The town is friendly,” Spohn said.

Francis Sullivan, 63, grew up in Morse Bluff before moving away in 1970 to persue his career. He moved back in November 2006 to help care for his late mother, Geraldine. After his mother passed away last fall, he stayed in Morse Bluff, unsure of his future.

His favorite memories of growing up in Morse Bluff were the freedom to roam the bluffs and forest surrounding the town.

“We could go anywhere, do anything, without thinking about dangers,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan remembered in 1960 when the bridge to North Bend was washed out. He and friends, George Kaplan and the Muff boys, got on their bikes and rode a plank palce over gaps in the destroyed bride. The swollen waters and storng currents of the Platte River rushed rapidly beneath them.

“I’d be afraid to do it today,” Sullivan said. “I wouldn’t let my own kids do it, but our parents let us go. We were pretty free wheeling.”

Sullivan continues to enjoy the quiet and solitude of his hometown and still enjoys the offerings of the outdoors, hunting and fishing in season.

Except for a period in her early married life, Bernice Robertson nearly all of her 87 years in Morse Bluff. She has seen the village from its peak years in her childhood to what it is today. Robertson said the decline of Morse Bluff was brought by transportation. At one time it was not so easy to get to North Bend and a train stopped in Morse Bluff twice a day. Yet, Robertson also sees transportation as an advantage to living in Morse Bluff.

“We are close to centers of population,” Robertson said. “We have the advantage of large communities within 50 miles, if you want to use them”
Robertson remembers when two grocery stores and two taverns paid Joe Jenny $3.75 to come to Morse Bluff to show movies on a weekday night in the 1930s.

The movies were shown on a big screen between two telephone poles on a vacant lot on the northwest corner of Second and Ann streets. Block and plank benches were put up, but a lot of people sat in their cars around the lot.

“Dad would go to town early and park the car,” Robertson said. “Our farm was on the edge of town so we walked in later. The movie brought people in to trade and see the movie.”

While Morse Bluff has not kept up its routine of weekly movie showings, most residents would say it has maintained the charm which draws families to the life on the Bluff.

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