Kearney County, Nebraska courthouse

image republished from Wikimedia Commons

Minden, Nebraska

If the perfect small town exists, it just might be Minden.

If you could sit down at a drawing board to design the perfect small town, what would you include? Maybe you’d start with a superb education system, then add in gracious and affordable homes. You’d want to make sure you had a prosperous manufacturing sector so there would be good jobs and a sound economy, then perhaps you’d want to add some interesting retail enterprises on wide, safe streets. You’d want to make sure to design in a strong sense of community, with a lot of citizen participation in community decisions, quality healthcare facilities and nearby opportunities for camping, hunting and fishing. You’d place it close enough to commute to both college and university campuses, and not too far from sports entertainment such as basketball and hockey. Then maybe you’d top it all off with a beautifully restored community theater and an imposing historic courthouse in the town square.

A school system to envy

The business community, schools and parents work together to offer Minden youth a balanced and progressive education.

“We have a great belief in our people as a great asset to teach the whole child,” said Minden Superintendent Dr. Melissa Wheelock. “The people here create a positive climate for education.”

“Education is all about relationships,” Wheelock said. “Our goal is to establish positive relationships of children to learning, children to teachers, as well as our school district to the supportive community of Minden. Our students leave Minden Public Schools not only well-educated, but as responsible citizens.”

The Minden school system features updated facilities and small classes (often an 11:1 student/teacher ratio in high school) promising individual attention and support from teachers.

A treasured history mixes with present-day pride

Pride in the community also shows itself in the Minden Opera House, an elegantly restored theater that provides a stage for professional entertainment, an art gallery and gracious rooms for receptions.

“We value our heritage and preserve our historical buildings,” Wilcox says. “The Minden Opera House and the Minden Courthouse in the square are among the sites we treasure. Our courthouse was built over 100 years ago, but it’s been upgraded with sprinkler systems, an elevator and all the other necessities for a modern building. When the courtroom was restored, we retained the original design features and the atmosphere of a courtroom of the 1800s.”

Community pride is also evident in the summer flowers that spill from window boxes and decorate street corners around the town square. Local horticultural societies plant and care for garden plots on public sections in the town.

Above information about Minden courtesy of Nebraska Rural Living.