Glen (AP)-Once bustling centers of commerce along the White River, Glen and nearby Andrews, are mere ghosts of what they once were. But residents and historians say the towns still have something to offer. A small, rural schoolhouse still operates there. Teacher Moni Hourt said the school, which has survived floods and fires, is living history and provides students with a great way to study western Nebraska's roots.
Part of that history comes from right outside the schoolhouse. Next to the school is a Danish cemetery where some of Glen's settlers were buried. Most of the families who live here have been here for generations.
The small Sioux County settlements were former railroad towns, complete with depots and mercantile stores. Andrews, which was first called Hunter, was a trading post on the Cheyenne-Fort Robinson stage road. It was often used as a fueling station for steam engines because it had a water tower. A thriving town, it even had a dance hall for local functions.
In 1919, an early morning flash flood nearly wiped out the railroad and the town. One woman, S.D. Bassett, a Baptist missionary from New York, drowned in the flood.
The town began to fade in the 1940's, as the railroads turned to diesel trains that no longer needed water to run. In 1951, the Andrews post office was closed and businesses slowly began to move away. The only remnants of the town are the dance hall, part of the grocery store and the frame of a house.
Glen began with one house owned by L.E. Beldon in 1881. At its height, the community had 52 residents, which doesn't seem like a lot, but big bands would play at the Masons' Hall.
France Olbricht, who was born and raised in Glen, said the town was the closest place to buy supplies. "My grandmother only went to Harrison once in 20 years," she said. If residents needed to go elsewhere, the train stopped twice a day at the town depot.
Settlers, however, soon became discouraged by the small amount of land available for homesteads after large cattle ranchers moved to the area.
As automobiles made it easier for residents to get around, the passenger train was slowly phased out.
Soon, all that was left were the few houses and ranches that remain today.