Link to Gage County, Nebraska

This special edition of the Lincoln State Journal was intended to PROMOTE Nebraska as a state,
and provide the towns with an opportunity to advertise their status and attract new residents.

Submitted by: Brenda Busing


Lincoln State Journal
Sunday, 5 June 1887



Situated in Gage County-On the Atchison & Nebraska Railroad-Twenty-Nine Miles From Lincoln-Population Four Hundred.

This town is located in the northeast corner of Gage county, on the line of the Atchison & Nebraska railroad, only a few miles from the Lancaster county line, and like all other towns in this section of Nebraska is surrounded by as fine an agricultural country as the sun shines on. It has a population of 400, and last year did a business amounting to upwards of $100,000. Two hundred cars of grain and live stock were shipped from this station last year, and about eight cars of merchandise and lumber shipped in. The business of the town is transacted by three dry goods stores, four groceries, two general stores, two agricultural implement dealers, two boot and shoe stores, two hard ware stores, two lumber yards, two hotels, two coal dealers, one lumber yard, one drug store, one clothing store and one bank. This is an excellent location for a good flouring mill, and the citizens of the town offer a bonus of $1,000 to anyone who will start a good roller mill.



Located in Gage County, on the Union Pacific Railroad, Twenty
Miles From Lincoln-Population One Thousand

Cortland is a lively and thriving town situated on the Union Pacific railroad twenty miles south of Lincoln. This town was located February 9, 1884 on the completion of the Union Pacific to Beatrice and now has about 1,000 inhabitants. The business houses are neat and more commodious than is usually found in a town of three years growth. It has seven general merchandise stores, one clothing house, three hardware stores, two banks, one implement house, three drug stores, two restaurants, two hotels, three elevators, one paper and printing office, two livery barns, two lumber yards, one furniture store, two millinery stores, three dressmakers, two coal yards, two meat markets; three churches; a large and elegant tow story school building of four rooms; one opera house; one publick hall and two blacksmith shops. Cortland has as good telegraph and telephone accommodations as any town in the state. The Western Union and Postal telegraph both have offices here. There are also two real estate offices, two live stock dealers, one tailor and two shoe shops. The postoffice is well fitted out for a town of this size and is better than is found in most towns of 2,000 inhabitants. Cortland is situated within one mile of the center of old Clay county and in as good an agricultural district as there is in the state and is settled up with as enterprising a class of farmers as can generally be found, who make Cortland their trading point. The Union Pacific company have put up a large tank for watering purposes and are now engaged in boring an artesian well to supply the numerous trains they are now running over this division. The rapid and permanent growth of Cortland is due largely to the fact that it was started by a class of business men of broad and liberal ideas who located to stay, brought a good quality of goods and sold them at fair and reasonable profits. Thus commending them to a large circle of country trade. Cortland is not infested with boom, but has a steady and permanent growth. There has been shipped from Cortland since January 1,460 cars of grain, about 100 cars of stock and several cars of produce. There has been shipped in since the same date about sixty cars of merchandise for our merchants. A more profitable location for a creamery or canning factory cannot be found in the state.



Situated in Gage County-On the Burlington & Missouri Railroad
-Seventy-two Miles From Lincoln-Population Eight Hundred.

The village of Odell, in southern Gage county, is at the junction of the Concordia branch with the main line of the Burlington & Missouri railroad from Kansas City to Denver, Col. It is eighteen miles south of Beatrice and ten west of Wymore. It is charmingly situated in one of the most fertile regions of the state. A heavy strip of timber runs through the section on the borders of Indian creek. This village is five years old and has a population of 800.

It has a $3,500 school building and two churches. Its general merchandise is represented by four stores, doing a business of $75,000 per year. There are two drug stores, a carriage manufactory two banks, two hardware and two agricultural implement dealers, each doing a large business. A steam saw mill cuts the lumber, and a feed mill supplies the farmers and village with ground grain for their stock. The country although only seven years old, is being highly cultivated and looks like one settled for twenty-five years. One of the finest elevators in the state is located here. The railroad facilities are superior, six passenger and from six to eight freight trains a day. Eighty-nine cars fo corn, seven cars of hogs, six cars of cattle and one of oats were shipped from here last month. One car of horses, one of salt, one of barbed wire, two of emigrant supplies, and over 70,000 pounds of merchandise were brought into the town during the same month. The town offers excellent inducements for active business men. A cheese factory would have the best of promise here. A furniture store and a harness shop are also needed. The best of building stone is found in abundance all along the creek which runs within one-half mile of the town. No better corn country, no better cattle country, no better grass country lies out of doors. business must keep pace with the agricultural developments and there is no considerable town within ten miles, and in some directions, eighteen miles of Odell. She is bound to prosper.



Grand Strides Made by the Twin Cities of the Blue

Situated in Gage County-On the Burlington & Missouri and Union Pacific Railroads-Forty Miles From Lincoln-Having a combined population of Four-Thousand-The Site of Some of the Finest Quarters in the State.

Nebraska is justly styled "The garden of the west," and Gage county is the choice spot in this beautiful garden of thrift, enterprise and wealth. Southern Gage county has not only the fertile fields and beautiful streams that characterizes the northern part of the county, but quarries of untold wealth; and the lay of the land has mapped it out in a network of railroads which will soon make it the choice section of the state. Gage county is thrity-six miles long, north and south; by twenty-four miles wide. The county will soon be divided into two counties, each being twenty-four by eighteen miles.

The southern portion, which is now styled Blaine county, we will speak of at present. Right in the center of this lies the twin cities, Blue Springs and Wymore. From a little eminence, a half mile to the eastward, will view these lovely sisters and the surrounding country. From this hill the eye can observe all the southern portion of Gage county. It is a grand magnificent view. The undulating prairies stretch out before you until lost beneath the horizon, and the fields of waving grain and corn roll like the billowy ocean. Through the center of this scene flows the Blue river and into it empties the Arteketa, Johnson, Plum, Indian, Bills, and their numerous branches until every farm is well watered. These streams have living waters and are skirted with excellent timber. We see no bluffs save on the east side of the Blue river. A line of bluffs perhaps a hundred yards wide by fifteen miles long parallels the river, broken here and there by the numberous streams which flow into the Blue. This strip of land is the most valuable in the state. It is made up of magnesian limestone of the best quality and here are quarried, each year, thousands of car loads of building, dimension, cobble and other stone and shipped to all parts of the state. Right at one's feet is the Harpster quarry. Will Harpster informs us that he is furnishing stone for building purposes to the towns and he is just finishing out a three hundred car load contract for the Burlington & Missouri railroad and nearly that many for the Union Pacific road. He runs about twenty hands in winter and fifty in the warm season. A few rods above is the Barley quarry, which employs about twenty hands. Dwell Clapp will soon open up another near this one and he intends to work about fifty hands. One mile below here are the Allen quarries, forty men, and the Jones quarry, twenty men. E.E Jones makes a specialty of dressed and dimension stone and works a great number of stone cutters, supplying towns all over the state. He furnishes all the dressed stone for the St. Joe & Denver road in Nebraska. The men, working in these quarries, reside in the twin cities, and hence the stone industry is a source of great wealth to both towns.

We will now glance at the twin sisters. From where we stand we can see all of both towns. We stood on this same spot six years ago. Wymore was then a cornfield and Blue Springs was but a little hamlet. Now we see beautiful and costly residences everywhere. The business houses are large brick blocks and the streets are macadamized. On every hand we see bustle and business. A finely equipped street car line connects them, and the residences of the two towns have nearly filled up the ungainly gap between them. We place the population of the two towns at not less than 4,000 nor more than 5,000. The tradesmen are kept busy with employment and the merchants are prospering. The excellent farms and thrifty farmers have much to do with making the two towns what they are, but this may be said of all live towns. What advantages have we to justify future growth? We will visit the towns and see. We will first visit Blue Springs, the future manufacturing city of the west.

This town has improved wonderfully the past few years and many enterprises have located here within the past year. The Union Pacific road from Omaha to Kansas City, runs through here, and also the Burlington & missouri river railroad from Omaha to Red Cloud. The U.P. road has decided to make this point the division station between Omaha and Kansas City, and the round house and machine shops will be located here. This will be the means of doubling the size of the town within two years. The water power alone has destined this point to be a great manufacturing center. The dam across the Blue has a fall of nine feet and has a nine hundred horsepower capacity. The charter for the dam gives them the privilege of raising it, which will greatly increase this power if necessary.

The waters have never failed in the Blue, and the power can be used the whole year round. At present this power runs a large roller mill, machine shops, foundry and planing mills; all built within the past year. The roller mills are owned by Black Bros. & Shrimpton, and are the best water mills in the state. The building proper is 40x60 feet, four stories high and has all the modern improvements. It is run by two large turbine wheels, and grinds with fourteen sets of rollers. The grinding capacity is 150 barrels of flour per day. In addition to this, there is a feed grinder with a capacity of 2,000 bushels per day. The storage capacity of the mill is 20,000 bushels. The mill runs every day, and the excellent quality of the flour, finds for it a ready market in the surrounding towns. The planing mills of N.S. Spencer furnishes employment for a great number of hands. All kinds of wood work is done here and he daily ships to surrounding towns. The Eagle Iron works of Knight & McDonald, is also a very important industry. Their foundry and machine shops are running to their fullest capacity and the firm doing an excellent business. The board of trade here are negotiating with several industries in the east, and we look for the present year to note as many improvements at this water power as last year. The power can be leased on very easy terms for any manufacturing purposes and suitable grounds will be furnished by the citizens here at a nominal sum. This town also has a patent wire and heavy lath fencing factory, a patent chair factory, brick yards and other industries that employ labor.

The schools are excellent. The large two story brick building, seventy two by seventy feet, eight rooms, and a frame building for small pupils amply accommodates all the school children of the district. There are four church edifices: The Methodist, Presbyterian, Evangelical and United Brethren.

In less than a mile from the business center of Blue Springs is the business center of the "Magic City," Wymore. The marvelous growth of this town is due to the fact that it is a great railroad center of the Burlington & Missouri system, and also has live business men, as well as the excellent farming community surrounding it. The main line of the Burlington & Missouri from Chicago to Denver passes through here and also the line from Omaha to Red Cloud, and the Concordia branch starts out from here. This has been made the division station for all these roads. The twenty stall round house and machine shops are located here and this furnishes employment for a great many men. One hundred and fifty-six men are on the pay roll and make their homes here. They draw, monthly, as salary $15,000. Nearly all of them are married men and own the property they live in. When the Rulo bridge is completed there will be nearly a hundred more railroad men make their homes in this town. The citizens here do all they can to encourage manufacturing establishments and lately they have secured two cigar factories, one running eleven hands and the other three, the large flouring mills of D. Trobridge, one of the best in the state, two branch wholesale brewing houses, brick yards and other industries. The Touzalin hotel is nearly completed and will be the largest in the state outside of Omaha. It is four stories, including basement, 140x75 feet. It has fifty rooms and supplied with gas, water and all the modern improvements. The churches here are the Baptist, Catholic, Christian, Congregationalist and Methodist Episcopal. There is a fine two story brick school house of eight departments, with a splendid corps of teachers. Wymore is destined to become a commercial center and one of the best points for jobbing hosues in the west. It has wealthy, enterprising citizens who will push it onward on the road to prosperity. While the growth of the town has been rapid the building has not been overdone, as all the buildings are occupied, and the good work, still goes on.

There is much more that can be said of each town that will justly apply to both. The surveyors of the Kansas City & North western road are here, and both towns have been asked to vote bonds to induce it to run through them. The bonds will be voted and we will have the road. These two towns will have a union depot and division station of this road, which will give us an impetus that assures future growth. Lots, in either town, are held at reasonable figures, and this is a splendid time for investment in that line. The society here is first class, and our citizens are kind and courteous to all. Each has all the various lodges and societies, and a good opera hall supplies either town. It will be but a short time when one cannot tell when he is out of one town and into the other, as improvements between them will obliterate all traces of division. The business of both towns have seen the necessity of working in concert for one common good, and their efforts are proving effectual. They are working to secure other lines of road to run through both places or between the two, and our prospects are brighter than ever before. The boards of trade are also working to secure a college, canning factory and other industries that will employ labor and build up the towns.

We came near forgetting the Blue Springs creamery, run by C.E. Likens. It is one of the largest in the state, and Mr. Likens is making it pay. Then there are the nurseries of Stephen Smith and D.S. Lake & Co., two of the largest in the west, and they employ from fifty to seventy-five hands. Both towns lay claim to them and they are particularly claimed by neither. They are run successfuly and are valuable acquisitions.

On Wm. Wonder's farm, southeast of here one mile, is a clay bank twenty feet in thickness. The clay is a superior article for potter's use and some one who understands the business could make a fortune by developing the mine. Several persons, to test it, have plastered the back walls of their stoves with it, and it has stood the sever heat for two years without cracking or scaling. The springs from which Blue Springs derives its name, are just north of town in a beautiful grove of nature's own handiwork. They are several in number, all close together, and they well up from the earth in streams from one to several inches in diameter and running together from what is known as Spring branch. The water is of a bluish tint, and hence, the name of Blue Springs. The waters have been analyzed and found to be slightly medicated and very healthful. Should the towns jointly put in a system of waterworks, those springs would supply them with the best water in the state. Some day a sanitarium for invalids will be built here, and it will also be a great pleasure resort and watering place.

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