A part of Arlington's history will forever be remembered thanks to the efforts of a group of recent Arlington High School graduates and their former teacher.
Arlington's first Nebraska Historical Marker, which honors the Marshall Nurseries, was installed Monday at the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 30 and County Road 15, also known as the Marshall Nursery road.
As juniors in Barry Jurgensen's honors U.S. history class, Trent Borgmann, Julian Camden, Evan Hammang, Emily Kraemer, Alexis Stortz and Alek Timm completed the process to place the historical marker, which was approved by History Nebraska, formerly the Nebraska State Historical Society.
John Camden Sr. of Blair donated the $6,000 needed to erect the marker.
On Monday, some of the students — now 2019 AHS graduates — and Jurgensen, now an adjunct professor at Bellevue University and Metropolitan Community College, gathered to see the marker for the first time.
“I just think it's pretty cool to have helped showcase our town in some way because it's not very well known,” Borgmann said. “A lot of people will be driving down this highway and they'll probably see it.”
“It's just exciting to finally see it come through,” she said. “Arlington doesn't have anything like this yet so it's the fact that we could contribute to that and leave some history here before we all leave.”
“To actually see it immortalized in Arlington's history is neat,” Timm added. “I'll be able to tell my kids one day that I'm a published author and kind of a big deal around here.”
For Jurgensen, who taught history at AHS from 2009 to 2018, seeing the marker erected more than a year later is bittersweet.
“It's going to be a good memory because now when I drive through here I'll remember the students I got to work with and all of the history we were able to preserve,” he said. “To me, that's the most important thing is to preserve the history, to make sure the future knows what happened.”
The marker denotes the historical significance the Marshall Nurseries made both in Arlington, the state and across the country for more than a century.
Brothers George and Chester Marshall founded the nursery in 1887. It was incorporated as Marshall Nurseries in 1916.
“The company's operations grew with its reputation, opening nurseries in Omaha, Colorado Springs and Denver,” according to the inscription on the marker. “Locally, the nursery employed more than 100 people, including a large number from the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.”
The nurseries also supplied much of the original landscaping for the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln and for the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha.
The nursery also won honors, including a statewide “big tree” competition in 1963 and the Best Fruit Display at the 1900 World's Fair in Paris.
Marshall Nurseries is also known for the creation of the Marshall Seedless Green Ash tree.
The nurseries closed in 1994. However, two signs advertising the business still remain.
The students also successfully nominated a historic home once owned by George A. Marshall to the National Register of Historic Places. A plaque designating the home, where Scott and Cheryl Abbott currently live, as such was recently installed.