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Communities

Byron, Nebraska

Byron, Nebraska is a village near the Kansas-Nebraska state line that boasts a 2010 census of 83 persons.  The story of Byron began with the coming of the railroad.  Late in the year of 1873, just 4 years after Nebraska became a State, the St. Joseph and Denver City Railroad Company received an immense grant of land from President Ulysses S. Grant for the construction of a new railroad across Kansas and Nebraska. In 1877, Colonel Thomas Harbine, a Fairbury Nebraska attorney, purchased the southeast quarter section of this tract for $1,240, considered a large amount in those days, and then surveyed and platted a town named Harbine on 128 acres of his purchase in 1880.  The town of Harbine lay partially across the Kansas State Line, but mostly within the State of Nebraska, leading to its designation as a “Town Divided”.

The first building erected in Harbine was a railroad depot in August of 1880 after the St. Joseph and Denver City Railroad tracks were completed from Marysville, Kansas to Hastings, Nebraska.  Because the town of Harbine lacked enough residents to incorporate, a very desirable action to insure the future of a community, the railroad crew were signed up as “citizens” of the town in order to have enough residents to incorporate.  In 1889, the incorporation papers were filed but were not accepted because another town named Harbine (founded by the same Fairbury Attorney) had already been incorporated.

A Mrs. Clay Pruder of Wakeman, Ohio, came to the area in a covered wagon along with her teenage son Frank James Byron, after the child’s father died during the Civil War.  Frank’s mother, Nancy Jane, and his step-father Edwin Prosser lived in a dugout west of town in an area referred to as “Scorpion Gulch”.  Frank’s father was claimed to be a descendant of Lord Byron, the English poet.  This claim made him the “most famous” of the residents of what was known as Harbine.  So the citizens agreed upon the name of “Byron” for the new name for the little town. Most of the people moving into the newly named village of Byron were immigrants from Germany, and nearly all residents can trace their heritage to German ancestors.  In the early days most of the inhabitants of the town lived in dugouts. The first Bank was built where the current Byron Post Office now stands.  It was operated by Berkley and Berkley.In the late 1890’s, a group of citizens organized and started the Farmers & Merchants’ Bank. 

Then in the early 1900’s a new bank building was erected from concrete blocks manufactured in Byron. This building was converted into a Public Library in 1963, and the banking business moved into a new modern brick building owned and operated by the Byron Co-op Credit Association that was built in 1960.  This building is still on the north side of the existing bank today. In 1976, the Byron Co-op Credit Association was chartered as a State Bank with the name Byron State Bank.  Byron State Bank celebrated its 25 year Anniversary in the year 2001, and its 40th Anniversary in 2016. Although a small community, the members of the community and the surrounding farmers are proud to have a place for community events at The Byron Community Center which was dedicated on June 13, 2015.  This community building was built with funds made possible through the Nebraska Community Foundation, many donors, and lots of hard work by many of the community members and local farmers.  A recently built Fire Hall and City Office are also a source of pride for this community.

 


 

Cairo, Nebraska

Cairo is a town of about 900 residents located 15 miles west of Grand Island, at the intersection of Highways 2 and 11.  The town was established in 1886 with the name “Cairo” being selected.  Legend has it that one of the town’s founders thought that the area looked like a desert and should be called Cairo after its counterpart in Egypt. 

While the name is a play on Cairo, Egypt, it is actually pronounced KAIR-oh.  Many of the street names follow the Egyptian theme such as Nile, Egypt, Suez and Oasis.  A metal camel and pyramid welcome visitors to town on Highway. Cairo is a friendly town with a growing business community supporting the mainly agricultural economy.  Cairo is well-known for its many community events such as the Cornstalk Festival, Christmas in the Village, and the Junk Jaunt.  The community is a part of the Centura consolidated school district.

 


 

Chester, Nebraska

Chester, Nebraska is a village located in South Central Nebraska with a population of 232. It is a rural farming community located on the Kansas-Nebraska border. This community is a small town with a big heart in the account of "Little Boy Blue." The Chester Community Club hosts Chesterfest which takes place usually the last weekend of June. Chesterfest is a fun filled weekend of concerts, vendors, games, car shows and great food. Chester is home of six-man football which was founded by Stephen Eppler. Chester is a community of values, pride and traditions.

 


 

Cook, Nebraska

Cook, Nebraska is a village located in southeast Nebraska with a population of 333. Cook is located just off Hwy 50, 10 miles south of Syracuse and 10 miles north of Tecumseh. Cook was founded in 1888 when the Missouri Pacific Railroad was extended to that point. It was named for Andrew Cook, the original owner of the town site. Cook had about fifty residents when the first train arrived in November 1888, and the village incorporated in 1891. Because of many artesian wells nearby, Cook became known as “Artesian City.” Today, Cook Days is celebrated annually in July with events planned to celebrate the community and benefit the Cook Fire and Rescue and other community organizations. A car show, water fights, bingo, BBQ contest and a Sunday Breakfast are all part of the festivities.

 


 

Louisville, Nebraska

Louisville is a small town settled between Omaha and Lincoln. Holding a little over 1,000 people, Louisville is situated right on the Platte River making it a great destination for parks, people, and plenty of fun! Louisville was founded in 1857 and this small town continues to thrive. With many necessities right in downtown including restaurants, a grocery store, public library, and a country music theater that hosts live music regularly.

 

 

 


 

Peru, Nebraska

Home of Nebraska's first college, Peru is host to nearly 2,500 Peru State College students each year and a general population of 845 . Downtown Peru provides all the necessities of small-town life including a restaurant, grocery store, bank and night life. Peru State College and the Campus of A Thousand Oaks is one of the affiliated sites that constitute the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, a botanical resource for students, visitors and residents of Southeast Nebraska. The college offers a unique mix of innovative, online and traditional classroom undergraduate and graduate programs. What began as Nebraska's First College in 1867, a teacher training school with one building and 60 students, has transformed over the years into a state-of-the-art institution.

 


 

Summerfield, Kansas

Summerfield, a quaint little town in the far northeast corner of Kansas was named for Elias Summerfield, who in 1888 was the Superintendent of the Kansas City Northwestern and Missouri Pacific Railroads.  240 acres of Land was purchased for the original town site in 1888 and construction was started.  The first train arrived in February of 1889, and a Post office was established in February of 1889 as well. 

Early businesses in the town included, several general mercantile stores, a physician and pharmacy, a hardware store and lumberyard, livery barns and blacksmiths, a photographer and barber shops, two restaurants, a bakery, a hotel, a lawyer and a billiard parlor.  Three Grain Elevators were also located in Summerfield, and by 1916 they were handling approximately 200,000 bushels of grain. 

The last train whistle was heard in Summerfield on October 31, 1919.  A school was established in September of 1889 and continued to operate until 2015, when it consolidated with Axtell High School.  Three churches are located in Summerfield; United Presbyterian Church formed in January of 1889, Holy Family Catholic Church formed in 1892, and First Lutheran Church formed in May of 1947. 

Summerfield, with its unique position, shares its northern border with the state dividing line of Kansas and Nebraska; which helps to fuel the ever growing debate as to which state has the better collegiate athletic teams.  Highway 99 divides the town as it runs North to South, placing the town in both Richland Township on the West and St. Bridget Township on the East.


 

Syracuse, Nebraska

Syracuse is a thriving small community that has many of the conveniences of a bigger city! With a population of 2,043 the city continues to grow, welcoming many young families interested in living on quiet city streets or acreages in the country. This community is perfectly situated at the crossroads of Highways 2 & 50, giving Syracuse residents the opportunity to enjoy quick access to the culture, shopping and events featured in Lincoln, Omaha and Kansas City! Area businesses include everything from furniture, antiques and hardware supplies to groceries and prescriptions. With more than a dozen eating establishments in Syracuse, it’s easy to get your favorite morning latte or find the perfect spot to dine with family and friends!

As an agriculture - based community, the town has three implement dealerships, as well as a grain elevator, truck stop, auto parts store and several gas stations. Syracuse is home to a wide range of churches of varying faiths. This community offers many opportunities for visitors and residents to participate in recreational activities. With a nine - hole golf course and a multi - field ball complex, where you will find baseball and softball games being played all spring and summer. The complex is also home to soccer fields and a picnic shelter, with basketball and volleyball courts, and a bike - walk path to be built in the future. The swimming pool is a fun way to cool off; enjoy zero-depth entry, a water slide, geysers and lap lanes. The Otoe County Museum is a three - building complex with records and memorabilia dating back from the mid 1800’s. Visit the museum and research your genealogy.

Displays are set up depicting life as it was in the late 19th century. A Victorian house is home to vintage furniture and décor. The museum complex also is home to the Henry Kramer Wildlife collection. Proud of our German heritage, Syracuse celebrates GermanFest every July. It is a day of activities that include the Omaha German - American Society singers and dancers; “Viener” Dog races and style show; children’s activities; German food; a street dance, a two - block long beer garden and German - American dancers and singers. Everyone is German for a day! On the first weekend of December, we celebrate the Tannenbaum Festival with a visit from Santa, children’s activities, craft fair, soup supper, and the lighting of our huge evergreen Christmas tree located at the main intersection of our downtown district . Syracuse is home to the Otoe County Fair and the area features many other events throughout the year!


 

Tecumseh, Nebraska

Tecumseh, the county seat of Johnson County, was incorporated in 1856 . It was first called Frances in honor of the wife of Colonel Richard M. Johnson, for whom the county is named. In 1857 the town was renamed for the famous Shawnee Indian chief, Tecumseh, whom Johnson fought during the War of 1812. Annually, on the third weekend of August, it hosts the fair. The County 4-H participants showcase their projects, animals, and skills. It is a great time for the family to enjoy rides, food and exhibits!

 

 


 

Virginia, Nebraska

Located near Beatrice, Virginia is a small community of around 60 residents. Virginia was platted in 1887 when the railroad was extended to that point. It was named for Virginia Lewis, the daughter of a pioneer settler. Ask most Nebraskans to point out Virginia, NE on a map and you’d probably get some confused looks, but true steak lovers will know exactly where that is – it’s the home of Terry’s Steakhouse. The tiny restaurant is a destination all on its own. The village is considered an agricultural community with Farmers - Coop elevator, Terry’s Steakhouse, American Legion Fisher Post 367 and a branch of Western National Bank.

 


 

Wymore, Nebraska

Wymore is the second largest community in Gage County. It is located in southeast Nebraska at the junction of Big Indian Creek and the Blue River. Wymore/Blue Springs population is estimated at 1,775 residents. Wymore was platted and recorded on May 21,1881 as a railroad town, on land donated by Samuel Wymore. It is said that two full blocks of businesses sprang up in just 16 days.

Sam Wymore Days is celebrated each June to honor the contributions Mr. Sam Wymore made to this community. Wymore has 2 parks with camping, a swimming/splash pool, nine hole golf course and 2 ball fields. The Wymore Arbor State Park baseball field has one of the few covered, behind the plate bleachers in the state. This park is enjoyed today, as is McCandless Park and the Blue Springs softball complex. Arbor State Park, was the 1910 site of the Gage County fair.

Many school houses are part of Wymore’s history. East Ward, West Ward and the present school building built in 1925, which has been updated and expanded. In the fall of 1968, Wymore, Blue Springs and Holmesville were combined and called Southern High and Southern Elementary District #1. Wymore is known as the Welsh Capital of the Great Plains; Wymore became home to generations of immigrants from Wales, who founded a Welsh-language church, a school and cemetery. The community prospered as a railroad town until after WW II, when other forms of transportation became more popular such as cars, trucks and airplanes.

 
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