Old Freighters Museum

The Old Freighters Museum was established to interpret the significance of freighting and emigration on the trails passing through or near Nebraska City during the years 1846 through 1870, as well as the city's role in this westward movement. The Old Freighters Museum stands as a significant memorial to the importance of Nebraska City in the westward expansion of the United States. Nebraska City was one of four main entry points to overland trails from the Missouri River and was the largest freighting center on the river.


This three-story wood-frame building was built in 1858 by the U.S. Government for use as a residence for Major James G. Martin, Quartermaster. After nine months, Martin was transferred. In 1859 the building was sold to the freighting company of Russell, Majors and Waddell. The company had been awarded a government contract to convey five thousand tons of government supplies overland to military outposts in the western reaches of the land. Along with this building Russell, Majors and Waddell purchased 138 lots in the Prairie City Addition of Nebraska City for the freighting company.

Hours & Admission:

Friday-Sunday: 12pm to 4pm

Adults: $3.00
Children: $1.00

Trails West Day
Experience first-hand what life was like on the overland trails! Trails West Day is an annual celebration of the history of the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails through Nebraska City and on westward. Click the link above to find out more!

Educational Resources:

Exploring Knowledge
Freighting History Fact Sheet
Known Freighters in Nebraska City Submission Form
Historic & Modern Freighting Comparison Activity Sheet

Take a Tour Today!

Contact the Old Freighters Museum

407 N 14th Street
Nebraska City, NE 68410

The Old Freighters Museum is operated by the Nebraska City Historical Society, a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to preserve the 1858 Russell, Majors, and Waddell office building and promote the unique history of the freighting industry in Nebraska City and the region.