Prehistoric Indians were the earliest inhabitants of this area. By 1760, the Oto and part of the Missouri Tribe occupied an earth lodge village near here on the west bank of the Platte River, a short distance above the mouth of the Elkhorn. Spanish and French explorers made contact with the Oto during the late 18th century.
In July, 1804, men from the Lewis and Clark expedition traveled to the Oto village only to find the tribe away on their annual buffalo hunt. When the Indians returned, the explorers held a council with them at a site on the Missouri River which became known as "the council bluffs." During the 1830's, Baptist missionaries Moses and Eliza Merrill worked among the Oto and Missouri. In 1854, the tribes ceded their lands along the Platte and Elkhorn and moved to a reservation on the Blue River near the Nebraska-Kansas border.
The present-day community of Yutan is named after Itan, chief of the Oto from about 1830 until his death in 1837. Two Rivers State Recreation Area, at the confluence of two historic waterways, was opened in 1960 by the State Game and Parks Commission.
Yutan Historical Society
Nebraska State Historical Society
Two Rivers State Recreation Area