We more than likely don't notice it, but nearly every day we drive by what once were thriving communities in Sarpy County.
Today, there's very little left of towns like Portal, Sarpy Center and Xenia.
So what happened to those towns and why do they no longer exist?
They grew from the fields of the great plains, towns and villages in Sarpy County during the 1880’s . Now all that’s left are the ghosts.
"There's really not a whole left occasionally an old barn or farm or school house that may be converted to a private residence, but not too much," Ben Justman of the Sarpy County Museum said. "We think ghost town like the wild west you know old mining towns and that sort of thing and that not too much here."
This farm house at one time was the post office for the town of Xenia. Marilyn Edwards now renovates what's left of the town once located seven miles east of Springfield.
"There used to be a school house, a livery, and a general store on each of the corners," she said.
The only thing left of Xenia is the old post office and the old cemetery a few blocks away.
In fact, some of the only landmarks remaining in many Sarpy County ghost towns are the cemeteries.
This cemetery was once the outskirts of the town of Portal. Portal was located between Giles Road and 108th and 114th Street northwest of Papillion. Papillion moved the old Portal school house into the city. It's now a reminder of a town that once was.
"The rise and fall of a community could be determined by the railroad," Justman said.
That’s the story of Sarpy Center, founded in 1874 at what is now 120th Street and Fairview Road. Captain JD Spearman anticipated the railroad coming thru here. He also wanted Sarpy Center to be the county seat.
When that didn’t happen, Spearman, moved Sarpy Center to what is now Springfield. This farmhouse used to be the Sarpy Center school. .Jan Dobbs remembers her mother talking about the old school.
"Her brothers and sisters put her in the middle especially on bad days to protect her from the elements and they walked a mile and a half to school," she said.
There might not be many buildings left of the ghost towns of Sarpy County, but there are many stories to be told. Because all that’s left is a building here, and a tombstone there.
And sometimes, there are hidden gems in those old ghost towns.
Marilyn Edwards who bought the old post office in Xenia can attest to that.
She found a badly deteriorated cloth banner touting the Ulysses S. Grant and Schuyler Colfax ticket for president...in 1868.
"It was awesome...I mean it's a very small fragment, but you can read it and tell what it is," Edwards said.
And that explains how the town Schuyler and Colfax County got their names.
For a look at other ghost towns in Sarpy county and across Nebraska, go to http://nebraskarules.tripod.com/id11.html.