HEBRON - A southeast Nebraska town is looking to help area businesses while also shining a light on its history.

The town of Hebron in Thayer County is currently working on a historic walking trail. Hebron City Clerk Jana Tietjen and a number of committee members met with News Channel Nebraska to discuss the project.

“The idea originated from a tour of the town I did, when I realized a lot of our history disappeared 70 years ago in the 1953 tornado,” David Cording, committee member for the trail, said. “So we have to capture what we can, with older people in town who may remember these things.”

Cording, a Hebron native, also explained the process of getting information for the trial, which included interviewing older residents and Hebron natives. City Clerk Jana Tietjen says pieces of those interviews can be seen as part of the trail. Walkers will be able to scan a QR code on the signs lining the walking tour, to get an audio or video description of the trip.

“The QR codes are important because we know all ages will be using the walking trail and we wanted to make it a simple as possible,” Tietjen said. “If you hold your phone up, click the picture, it takes you right to the page for that specific sign or historical building.”

Tietjen says most of that work is done and she hopes the first phase of the trail is open in July.

“That information is ready to go on the website, so we just are continuously putting that on and the signs are being made as well, so we’re hoping July 4 is the target date for at least phase one of the project,” Tietjen said.

Funding for the project has been provided by the Thayer County Visitors Committee, the City of Hebron, and private donations. Grant applications have also been submitted to the Nebraska Historical Society. Tietjen says one of the goals of the walking tour is to help area businesses and bring people to Hebron. With Hebron being the site of the World’s Largest Covered Porch Swing, many stop to see the swing, but don’t spend much time in town. Tiejten hopes the project changes that, as the tour starts at Roosevelt Park, the site of the swing. 

“With the walking tour starting at Roosevelt Park, we hope people take the walking tour, it goes right through our downtown, they see what businesses there are and we hope they shop, eat and visit.”

For Cording, as a Hebron native, the trail opening this summer has sentimental meaning.

“This is in our minds in my family because my grandfather came to this area in 1883, so we’re celebrating the 140 year anniversary of my family being in the area,” Cording said.