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Communities

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. Foote Café has been part of this community for over 65 years and are known for their famous cinnamon rolls. Chester is a community of values, pride and traditions.

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.

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.