Central City is a progressive little community of over 2,000 inhabitants. It dates its inception to February, 1875, when the name of Central City was fixed to what had been formerly known as Lone Tree Station. The change was made in pursuance of a petition sent to the district court. Lone Tree was in 1858 made a station of the Western Stage Co., and was platted by the U. P. Railroad in the fall of 1866, and grew rapidly, so that in December, 1877, a town organization was effected. Since, it has tripled its population and has all the conveniences of a modern city. It has superior railroad connections by the Burlington and U. P. companies, which, combined with the fact that it is in the midst of a fine agricultural country and is the county seat, gives it a good general and local trade. It has good schools and churches, three banks, two newspapers, Pacific and Fargo express offices, two hotels, lumber yards, grain elevators, etc. It has Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Congregational, Catholic and Episcopal Churches. It has a good opera house with a seating capacity of 600.
Of which Central City is the county seat, is in the far-famed Valley of the Platte It measures thirty-six miles from east to west and twenty- seven, at its broadest part, from north to south. Situated as it is, 1,700 feet above sea level, it is favored with a fine, healthful climate. Few days during the winter are extremely cold, and in summer the constant prairie breezes ameliorate the heat. The Platte, which runs the entire length of the county, with its branches, the Loup and the Wood River, affords a perfect system of drainage and water supply. The majority of the land of the county (nearly three-fourths) consists of bottom and valley land. It is of a deep, black, sandy loam, becoming lighter in color as we recede from the river beds. Its depth is from two to ten feet, and underneath is a porous subsoil which never packs or bakes into uselessness. Ranges of sand hills, varying from two to four miles in width, traverse the northern part of the county, and are useless for agricultural purposes, but the short nutritious grasses which grow there in abundance are appreciated by stock growers. The timber of Merrick County is almost entirely "planted." The early settlers found only stumpy cottonwood; now there are over 4,000,000 trees in the county, of good size and strong growth. The two leading varieties, after the cottonwood, are the silver maple and box elder.
REPRESENTATIVE BUSINESS FIRMS AND MEN OF CENTRAL CITY.
FARMERS STATE BANK.--In reviewing the commercial resources of any city, a position of first prominence should be accorded her banking institutions. The Farmers State Bank, of Central City, was organized in 1886. The capital is $10,000. A general banking business is transacted, while the custom received is from the best city and country people. Thos. Bryant, president, is also president of the First National Bank, Schuyler, Neb. W. C. Kerr. cashier, is a native of Kentucky, and is a K. P. He has been three years in the bank. He has shown much enterprise and tact as cashier. The bank is committed to a wise and conservative management, and undoubtedly ranks among the leading financial institutions of the State.
J. R. MASON, Real Estate and Loans, Drugs and Groceries,--One of the prominent and representative city enterprises in its important branches of commercial activity are those of J. R. Mason, founded thirteen years, which from the start have had a rapid and substantial growth. All descriptions of city and suburban realty is bought, sold and rented. Money to. any desired amount is loaned on real estate or personal property also, and the fair and equitable terms offered have drawn to the office a large patronage. Farm loans a specialty. Mr. Mason is a notary public, and represents several standard insurance companies He is also a dealer in drugs and medicines, groceries and provisions, and occupies commodious premises, 22x66 feet, in the two-story brick building known as Union Block, with a twenty-four feet square wareroom at the rear. He is a native of Lockport, Ill., and is an A. O. U. W. He is highly respected and esteemed, and numbered among the leading business men of the city.
I. S. TYNDALE, Dry Goods.-- Prominent among the leading mercantile enterprises to be found in Central City is that of I. S. Tyndale, successor to A. H. Tyndale. The ample premises occupied are 24x70 feet and are well suited to the business which is daily transacted in foreign and domestic dry goods. Two assistants are constantly employed. Everything usually found in a first-class dry goods establishment is here; best in quality and moderate in price. Mr. Tyndale is a native of Montreal, Canada, and is a K. P. He has had an experience of the business since 1879. He is known for his courteous manners and strict integrity.
A. U. PERSING, Groceries.--A conspicuous purchasing centre in Central City is that of A. U. Persing, founded in 1884. The premises occupied are extensive, being 22x66 feet. Mr. Persing employs two assistants and is a heavy dealer in staple and fancy groceries, queensware, flour, produce. butter, eggs and poultry. He also runs the city oil and gasoline wagon. The proprietor is a native of Ohio; he is an M. W. A., A. O. U. W., and G. A. R., having served in the 86th Ohio Infantry. He is honorable and fair in transactions and enjoys a very extensive and influential patronage.
NEBRASKA'S ENTERPRISING CITIES.
FOSTER & SMITH, Lumber.--The lumber trade is well represented in this city by Messrs. Foster & Smith, headquarters at Lincoln, Nebr. They are general dealers, also dealing in sash, doors, blinds, and all kinds of building material. They are among the most extensive lumber dealers in the State owning several yards in this section and two in Kansas. Their facilities for transacting the business are of an unusually complete character. William Seeley, manager at Central City, is a native of Illinois and has been in the business three years. He is a K. P. and A. O. U. W., and came here from Kansas. By popular management he has reared a large and fast increasing business.
STABLETON & GRAY, Grocers.--It would be a difficult task to name any branch of commercial activity more important than the grocery trade. Stableton & Gray have been established four years. The premises they occupy are 25x75 feet. The stock is a most comprehensive one. Messrs. Stableton & Gray are from Ohio and Michigan, the former being a Mason, the latter an M. W. A. They are known in mercantile circles as clear-headed, practical men.
PHELPS HOUSE--Terms $1.00 to $2.00 per day; north of U. P. depot; first-class accommodations for traveling men and the general public. There are twenty bedrooms in the hotel and the dining room will seat twenty-four people. Mr. A. Phelps, proprietor, is a native of Illinois and served during the late war in the 30th Illinois Infantry. He belongs to the G. A. R. He has lived in Merrick County since 1874, when he removed from Illinois.
Is located in Polk County on the Omaha & Republican Valley Railroad, 125 west of Omaha at its junction with the St. Joseph & Grand Island Railroad. One can leave Omaha at eight A. M. and reach Stromsburg at noon. It is seventy miles northwest of Lincoln, from where it can be reached in three hours by rail. On the south it has direct connection with Kansas City and St. Joseph.
Stromsburg stands on an eminence gently sloping to the south. and overlooking the beautiful valley of the Big Blue River. For miles in every direction, saving the north, its spires and towers are visible. Its site affords beautiful building spots and broad, smooth streets, along which hundreds of trees have been and are being set out. Its drainage is perfect, made so by nature. Its water is pure, entirely free from alkali, which is so common in the West, and is obtained from wells varying in depth from thirty-five to one hundred feet. The perfect drainage, pure water, and the climate have conspired to make the city remarkable for its health. Chills and fever have never been known except in cases contracted elsewhere. Weakness of the lungs has been benefitted (sic) and sometimes cured. Newcomers remark a wonderful appetite and disposition for active labor. The city is located in the center of a very rich country. Its tributary territory is very large, owing to smooth and level roads leading to it from all directions, farmers preferring to haul farther when the roads enable them to carry much heavier loads. Stromsburg presents a beautiful appearance to the stranger. The business portion is built principally around a large public square set out in trees and shrubbery, with a large fountain in the center, and settees all around. Much care and taste has been displayed in the residence portion; smooth lawns, with thick. heavy blue grass turf. abounding in fruit, shrubbery. evergreens, hedges, flowers and shade trees confront one on every side.
Stromsburg has a high school, grammar and primary schools. A diploma from the high school entitles the holder to entrance without examination to the State University. There are five churches with edifices and resident pastors: Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian. Lutheran and Swedish.
Flourishing lodges of the following orders: A. F. & A. M., I. O. O. F., A. O. U. W., Woodmen, G. A. R., Knights of Labor.
The brick opera house is one of the town's attractions; it seats 600 people, has improved chairs, large stage, numerous dressing-rooms and fine scenery. There are also two other public halls: Lime Kiln and G. A. R.
The water works consist of a direct pressure system, affording all the fire protection necessary.
The Stromsburg people are as live, liberal and enterprising as "they are made." By donations of money and land they have induced several large institutions to come here; among these the college and flour mill.
The town is said to he the heaviest grain shipping station on the U. P. system.
The country around Stromsburg has very accurately been compared to a sponge, absorbing all the moisture possible and giving it out as required. It is for this reason that neither floods or drouth have ever destroyed the crops in this county. But once in the county's history has there been a failure of crops, and that was when they were destroyed by grasshoppers. In 1888, when many localities in the State had a failure of crops by reason of the drouth, Polk County had a good average crop is all cereals.
Samples of what the county will yield may be judged from the following:
Nathan Michener lives nine miles east of Stromsburg, and farmed with two teams 115 acres; eighty acres were of corn and produced 3,600 bushels, which he sold for thirty-five cents per bushel: thirty-five acres were in oats
and yielded 1,600 bushels, which he sold for twenty-five cents per bushel.
James Honess lives nine miles west of Stromsburg, and farmed fifty-five acres with one team, of which thirty acres of corn yielded 1,200 bushels, twenty acres of oats 750 bushels, five acres of flax fifty bushels. Corn sold for thirty-five cents, oats for twenty-five cents, and flax eighty cents per bushel.
James Sealey lives eight miles west of Stromsburg, and with one team farmed sixteen acres, of which forty acres of corn produced 1,600 bushels, fifteen acres of oats 600 bushels, and six acres of flax sixty-six bushels.
John Nickell lives five and one-half miles southwest, and tended with his fourteen-year-old son and two teams, ninety-five acres, of which seventy acres of corn yielded 3,500 bushels, twenty-five acres of oats 1,000 bushels.
John Biggs lives five miles southeast, and with three teams cultivated 315 acres; 180 acres of corn yielded 7,200 bushels, 100 acres of oats 4,000 bushels, thirty-five acres of flax 560 bushels.
REPRESENTATIVE BUSINESS FIRMS AND MEN OF STROMSBURG.
PARK BANK OF STROMSBURG.--One of the firmly-grounded institutions of this State is the Park Bank of Stromsburg, which was first organized in 1884, and in 1888 was made a State bank. Its officers are Louis V. Haskell, president; J. W. James, cashier and A. M. Little, assistant cashier. The capital stock is $25.000 with undivided profits of $2,000, the correspondents being the Chemical National Bank of New York, the First National Bank of Omaha and the U. S. National Bank of Omaha. The president is a native of New York State and came here in 1884. He is president of the board of trade, director of the public schools and member of the Republican State Committee for the eighteenth district. Mr. James is a native of Illinois and has been connected with the bank for three years past while Mr. Little also comes from Illinois and has lived in Polk County since 1876.
FARMERS & MERCHANTS BANK.-- In the matter of solid backing and conservative methods this bank stands eminent in this section. The president, John Wilson, owns about 1,300 acres of clear real estate and farm property in this vicinity. The bank was established in 1886, and a short time since passed into the hands of the present directory. Its capital stock is $15,000 which will shortly be increased. Its officers are: John Wilson, president; J. W. Wilson, cashier; and V. E. Wilson, assistant cashier. Mr. John Wilson is a representative of the best type of the Swedish members of this community. He came to this country at an early age, locating in Illinois and in 1880 removed to this county. His sons, both natives of Illinois, came to this county with their father in 1880. They are both graduates of commercial colleges and J. W. Wilson was for a short time assistant cashier in the Park Bank of this city.
STROMSBURG BANK.--This is the oldest bank in the city, being founded eleven years ago. Its capital stock is $30.000, and officers are: P. T. Buckley, president; J. B. Buckley, vice president; Charles A. Morrill, cashier, and Ira Banta, assistant cashier. Messrs. P. T. and J. B. Buckley came here from Illinois twenty-two years ago, have been also in grain and live stock here since 1879, feeding many cattle on their farm a quarter of a mile west of town. This was the first firm established here when the railroad was built through Stromsburg. Mr. Morrill has lived here twenty years and came from Iowa, while Mr. Banta has been here for five years.
STROMSBURG NORMAL AND BUSINESS COLLEGE --Was established here in 1889 by Prof. J. J. Bryant, and stands among the leaders in educational training in the trans-Mississippi territory. The object and work of the college is to advance the standard of teaching, and the other professional lines, and to give its students a thorough. practical education. To these ends is the work directed, and the means are offered in the best possible equipment for instruction, both in the way of a corps of trained instructors and in the use of all the best means in the different departments. The courses of study are as follows: preparatory, one year: normal, two years; professional, three years; scientific, four years; classical, five years; business course, three terms; and shorthand course, two terms. They are so arranged that students can avail themselves of the instructions in the separate courses or combine two or more courses. The normal department is under the care of Prof. J. J. Bryant, while the commercial department is under the charge of Prof. W. M. Bryant, who is the author of the system of business practice now in use. FACULTY: J. J. Bryant. president. languages, sciences, psychology, physiology, history, didactics, and taxidermy; W. L. Frew, arithmetic, algebra, higher mathematics, military science and tactics; W. M. Bryant, higher mathematics, bookkeeping, shorthand, typewriting, commercial law, parliamentary rules, and business practice; Mrs. J. J. Bryant, rhetoric, literature, geography, Pollard synthetic system, fine art-painting, drawing and sketching; J. S. Bollinger, plain and ornamental penmanship, bookkeeping and physical training; E. A. Boostrom botany and assistant in shorthand; ------ instrumental music, voice culture, harmony and chorus class; Miss Lydia Morey, shorthand class dictator; G. B. Heckenlivly, librarian and instructor in type setting; Rev. G. A. Hobson, lecturer on moral science; E. E. Stanton, attorney at law, lecturer on civil and commercial law. The college building was originally used by the Swedish Central Bible Seminary, but in 1889 Prof. Bryant took it. He is a native of Indiana and attended, as student three normal and business schools and two old line colleges, and adds to this the experience gained from years of teaching and managing other colleges. His brother, Prof. W. R. Bry-
NEBRASKA'S ENTERPRISING CITIES.
ant, also finished two business courses and one normal course, is an excellent penman, and possesses special aptitude in commercial work. In the matters of location, tuition. board and social advantages, and in moral and Christian (though non-sectarian) training, this institution offers inducements to parents and those interested in the welfare of our youth.
S. B. SAMUELSON & CO., Dealers in Grain Broom Corn, Flax Seed and Live Stock.--Messrs. S. B. and O. S. Samuelson, who compose the firm, came to Polk County about twenty years ago, locating near this city. The business was established in August. 1889, and is most prosperous. Their elevator has a capacity of 25,000 bushels, which makes them influential in building up Stromsburg's fine reputation as a shipping point. Mr. S. B. Samuelson is a native of Sweden and Mr. O. S. Samuelson of Illinois. Both gentlemen interest themselves actively in the prosperity and advancement of Stromsburg, Mr. S. B. Samuelson now being a member of the city council.
A. P. BUCKLEY & CO., General Merchandise.--The members of this firm have been residents of this section many years, and stand as reliable citizens of Polk County. The business was established in 1889. and has always been in a prosperous condition. They occupy a store room 25x80 feet, and basement, and carry dry goods, boots and shoes, staple and fancy groceries, etc. Mr. A. P. Buckley was born in Sweden. and came to this country when quite young. He located here in 1871. Messrs. A. P. Shostrom and P. Lindberg are also natives of Sweden, and Mr. Shostrom has been in this section for about fifteen years, Mr. Lindberg about six years.
FORD & PECK, General Merchandise.--Messrs. D. Ford and B. S. Peck, for the past nine years have been engaged in the general merchandise business under the above title. They now are disposing of their stock, intending to devote their entire attention to the loan, collection and insurance business, in which lines they have already acquired a reputation for integrity and careful attention. Their standing, both social and financial, is of the best, and throughout the county and State they have a wide circle of friends. Mr. D. Ford comes from Illinois. He is president of the Stromsburg Building and Loan Association, corresponding secretary of the board of trade and president of the Stromsburg branch of the State Business Men's Association, while Mr. Peck, who also comes from Illinois, is also actively identified with these bodies.
J. A. ANDERSON, Jeweler.--The leading jeweler of Stromsburg is a title which Mr. Anderson may well feel proud to possess. For the past seven years he has carried on business in this city. In his neat store is a full line of the best makes of watches, clocks, jewelry and an assortment of musical instruments. He is a native of Sweden and located here in 1881, Mr. Anderson is a skilled and practical workman and does all kinds of repair work in the most satisfactory manner.
W. T. SEYMOUR, Confectionery and Bakery.--Mr. Seymour is proprietor of the leading confectionery and bakery in this city, and since starting in business here two years ago has built up a fine trade. He is a native of Maryland, and lived for five years in Illinois and Iowa, and came to Polk County in 1874, where he has since resided, and is a member of the Masons and the A. O. U. W.
Osceola, Polk County, Nebraska, is a hustling city of 1200 population, situated on the O. & R. V. branch of the great Union Pacific system, 127 miles southwest of Omaha. The Platte River forms the northern boundary of the county of which Osceola is the county seat The town is only a few years old, and yet we know that all who visit it are surprised at its beauty and the whole general appearance. Situated on a large plateau of ground it commands a fine view of the surrounding country. Its large, substantial brick blocks and magnificent residences are an adornment that any city would well feel proud of. Its beautiful shaded streets and well kept lawns show that its people strive to make their city the envy of less thrifty neighbors.
The school system is perfection. None but well trained teachers are employed, and scholars are sent to them for miles around. The churches are kept alive with good, large congregations.
The city is growing rapidly and is bound to keep pace with the surrounding country as it settles up. During the past season several new brick blocks have been erected, the most prominent being the opera house block, owned by A. O. Monson. Competition among the merchants is brisk, assuring purchasers against exhorbitant (sic) prices. The city offers unusual advantages to persons with families seeking a pleasant place for a home, with all the conveniences and comforts of any city, without the annoyances incident to very large places. The society here is as good as you will find any place in the world.
REPRESENTATIVE BUSINESS FIRMS AND MEN OF OSCEOLA.
BANK OF POLK COUNTY.--Since its establishment in 1882, this bank has enjoyed a condition of prosperity, due mainly to the careful and progressive methods of those who control its course. These gentlemen are H. T. Arnold, president; D. C. Place, vice president; and J. P. Heald, cashier. The capital stock is $25,000, deposits about $21,500. loans and discounts $29519.08, with a total balance of $47,814.97. They have lately moved into their own handsome, new building several doors north of the old location. Mr. H. T. Arnold, who has charge of the bank's work personally, is an old resident of this city and has been connected with it since the organization. He is a pleasant gentleman, an able financier and has many friends all over this section of the State.
PETERSON & CO., Grain Dealers. --The grain shippers of Osceola offer an outlet for the crop of a large surrounding territory, and the firm of Peterson & Co. stands among the leaders in this county. The business was established two years ago, and came under the present partnership in December, 1891. The elevator and storage cribs have a capacity of 20,000 bushels. The members of this firm, Messrs. M. F. Peterson, S. G. Pheasant and. A. V. Nelson, are early settlers, having resided in Polk County for about twenty years. Mr. Peterson was formerly in the furniture business in Stromsburg. Mr. Pheasants has followed grain since 1884, while Mr. Nelson has for many years been farming in this vicinity.
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