NEGenWeb Project
Resource Center
On-Line Library


Nebraska's Admirable Advantages in This Line.

Her Unexcelled Common School System - The Sold Financial Basis Upon Which It Is Established - The Teachers' Institutes and Similar Organizations - The University and Normal School - The Numerous Private and Denominational Institutions of the State.

     The supreme concern with which the people of Nebraska view the question of education furnishes one of the most encouraging signs of the times. It is unnecessary in this age to multiply arguments to prove that as the degree of general education and intelligence rises, in like proportion the retarding influences in society disappear, the value of property is enhanced, the results of industry are made more secure and the perpetuity and future prosperity of the commonwealth becomes assured. Nebraska early placed her educational system upon a basis which experience had demonstrated to be solid and efficient. By the provisions of the organic act one-eighth of the lands of the state were set aside as an endowment of the public schools. The management of this magnificent gift, aggregating 3,746,080 acres, has been marked by wisdom and forethought. This fact has been most aptly referred to by a writer on educational topics "as most gratifying, not only from an economic standpoint, but also from its nice consistency with the character of the people of the state" which, of all states in the union, shows the smallest percentage of illiteracy. Of the original land grants 115,978 acres up to the present time have been deeded, leaving 2,773,859 still owned by the state. There is now under lease 912,147 acres, and under contract of sale 498,945. By proper management the means now in operation may be made to furnish a good common school education to every child in Nebraska without expense to parents or guardians, and that if they receive proper management, the ability and character of the men who have the trust in charge makes their education practically assured.

     The revenues of the state devoted to educational purposes is classified under two heads, the permanent fund and the temporary fund.

     The permanent fund is derived from several sources, primarily the sale of the school lands and a per cent of the income on the balance. This fund is increasing very rapidly, in fact so rapidly that difficulty is found to get suitable securities in which to invest it.

     From the report of the superintendent of public instruction for 1886 this fund is found to be distributed as follows:



U. S. bonds


County bonds


State funding bonds


Balance due on sale school lands


Total common school fund


     Adding to this the university, agricultural college and normal school funds, amounting to $471,223.99 gives a grand total of $5,369,953.45 as the available educational fund of the state. It has been estimated that under the present law it may reach $20,000,000. The above total shows an increase of $92,602.40 within the last two years. By the provisions of the constitution the income only of this fund can be used and that only to pay the teachers and running expenses of the schools.

     This income, together with the rents on the unsold portion of the school lands, all grants and gifts and moneys coming from such other sources as the legislature may direct, constitute the temporary school fund. It is apportioned to the districts semi-annually on the basis of the number of children of school age, and it is a gratifying fact to know that while our increase in population has been most remarkable, the growth of this fund has nearly kept pace with it, so that the rate per pupil has only very slightly decreased.

     During the past year $1,365,214 was paid to the teachers of the state. The state apportionment of that year was $466,941 or about one-third of the amount of the teachers' wages. The total amount expended for school purposes was $2,462,884, of which a large portion was raised by fines and licenses.

     There has been, according to the report of 1886, expended in the state for school property $3,821,317, which is an increase of over $1,000,000 in two years. A few miscellaneous statistics regarding the common schools, which, in this connection, may not prove interesting, are given in the following table:

School districts in state


Number of school houses in state


Value of all houses


Value of sites


Value of books and apparatus, etc.






Average amount wages, males


Average amount wages, females


Total amount paid to teachers



    Recognizing the truism that capable teachers are a fundamental necessity to an efficient system of education, and as an assistant in this important feature of common school work, the state normal school at Peru, Neb., was established. That the state is alive to the importance of this department of educational work with demonstrated by the vigorous discussion the subject received at the late session of the legislature and that additional normals would undoubtably have been established had not local considerations gotten the better of the general demands. Without his common schools an American would not today be able to point with pride to the progress of a century without a parallel in the annals of the world. This fact is no more patent than that the hope of the future lies in the same institution. By the character of the common schools is the coming generation to be moulded (sic), and no more important subject can engage the attention of the thoughtful legislator.

    The Peru normal is doing a grand work, and the period of its usefulness has but just begun. But there is ample room for others. The history of education in the older states fails to afford an instance where this class of work has been carried to the extreme or teachers too well educated.

    The last report shows that four hundred and seventy-six persons, during the past year, availed themselves of the advantages offered by the Peru school, and an examination of its workings shows that it is surpassed by few institutions of its kind. A more exhaustive discussion will be found in connection with the review of the town in which it is located.

    Supplemental to the work of the state normal is that of the teachers' institute, the phenomenal success of which illustrates the zeal with which the educational fraternity engage in their work. These institutes are held under the supervision of the county superintendent, he having the power to revoke a certificate for refusal to attend. Their object is mutual conference over the work in hand, discussion of the most approved methods and all the multitude questions arising regarding school management and educational methods. The institutes are several days or even weeks in length, and are conducted by the leading educators of the land. The reports show that, during the past year sixty-six were held; only two counties that were really able to do so have failed.  There are 5,359 teachers enrolled, being 89 per cent of all the counties. The total expense was $11,947, of which the county commissioners paid $2,840, the average cost to each teacher $1.70. The value derived is, however, inestimable, while the work is yearly made more valuable by efficient management and improved courses of study.

     There is also a state association of teachers, four successful conventions of which have been held at Lincoln. The attendance has been in every case large, many distinguished educators from abroad being present. The value of this organization in unifying the educational interests of the state is incalculable, while the opportunities of becoming acquainted with every section, and the discussion of the living issues of the day, make the conventions an occasion which teachers and school officers can ill afford to miss.

     At the head of the educational system of the state stands the State university, an institution which takes rank among the leading in the country. It numbers among its corps of professors men who are recognized as authority in their several lines. To this great advantage the university adds the most approved appointments and facilities for educational work to which additions are being rapidly made. A more thorough review of the institution will be found under the head of the state institutions located at Lincoln.

     A number of the public schools of the state have by a system of classification and grading been so ranked that students graduated by them are given advanced standing in the State university, thus connecting the common schools with the advantage of higher education. The plan has proved very beneficial to the schools to which such privileges have been granted, as well as materially assisting in the preparatory work of the University.

     Besides the above mentioned institutions directly under the supervision of the state, there are no less than sixteen colleges and private schools. These, almost without exception, are in a flourishing condition and doing a work which is a credit to those having their management and an honor to those through whose instrumentality they were founded. Nebraska is yet a young state, and the phenomenal increase in her material resources almost staggers belief, but the high grade and perfection of her educational advantages are no less wonderful. It is probably safe to say that no state in the union offers better facilities at so small an expense either to the student or the taxpayer.




Nebraska's Great Highways of Commerce.

Unparalleled Activity in Railroad Circles - Lines Being Pushed Into Every Quarter of the State - A Review of Nebraska's Leading Corporations - The Union Pacific, The Pioneer Railroad - The Great Burlington & Missouri System - New Lines Entering the State and Numerous Extensions of the Old - A General Summary of the Railroad Business of the State.

     No question is this country is now attracting more attention than that of railroad management. The solution of intricate problems arising therefrom is engaging the attention of some of the ablest intellects of the age. But whatever may be the difference of opinion regarding rates and management, no intelligent person questions for a moment the inestimable benefit these iron highways have been to this western country. They have been the making of it. They spread their steel net work over these broad prairies and made it possible to build up an empire destined to take a front rank among the commonwealth of the union, in a place once believed to be a hopeless desert. To the development of a great agricultural country means of easy and rapid transportation are not only a convenience, but an absolute necessity. Generations could not accomplish what with our facilities a few years has made possible. Yet, with as just pride as all contemplate past achievements we have hardly passed the threshold. If the past teaches any lessons, if accumulated wealth is power, if energy, push and enterprise, with limitless resources upon which to work, are factor in the success of states and individuals, the future of Nebraska is very bright. No state in the union is today the scene of greater activity in the extension and construction of railroads. The rapidity with which these great corporations are pushing their lines into every part of the state is evidence of the confidence they have in the resources and future of the state. To give a hasty review of the leading railway systems of the state and the extensions which the present year will see, is the burden of this article.


     The subject of a transcontinental railroad was discussed for a number of years before any definite steps were taken for it undertaking. The honor of having originated the idea of such an enterprise has numerous claimants, but this feature of the question receives little attention in this bustling age, the fact that the project was undertaken and accomplished being regarded as all sufficient. The first experimental steps taken was the surveying of nine test lines in 1853-54, under the supervision of Jefferson Davis, then secretary of state. Agitation and speculation upon the subject continued until January, 1866 when the first fifty miles of road were completed. From this time dates the railroads in Nebraska. There was then no rail communication between Des Moines, Ia., and Omaha and everything had to be transferred on freight wagons or brought up the Missouri river. The account of the working out of this enterprise and marvelous transformation that it wrought would, had not familiarity and association dulled the interest, read like a romance. Not a few were found who croaked their disapproval of such a foolhardy innovation. Nevertheless it was completed, and the change it wrought in the "Great American Desert," rivals the transformations of the magician.

     To aid in the construction of the Union Pacific road the general government gave a magnificent land grand amounting to 13,375,200 acres, a domain equal in extent to the combined area of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont. The projectors of the road were also subsequently given a subsidy of $16,000 per mile from the Missouri river to the base of the Rockies; $43,000 per mile from one hundred and fifty miles across the mountains. Thirty-two thousand dollars per mile for the distance on the Sierra Navada (sic) mountain and $48.000 per mile for the line across that range. Stimulated by this most liberal assistance the project was rapidly pushed and the road completed within four years from the time of its commencement, a marvel of energy and push without a parallel. The busy practical minded inhabitants of this western country seldom stop to contemplate the influence this enterprise has had upon the commercial, social and intellectual interests of the world. In fact, it is questionable if the average intellect is able to comprehend the mag- nitude and universality of the results which followed.

     Of the magnificent gift of land given the Union Pacific by the general government, the last report of the board of transportation shows that 12,260,163.64 acres have been sold. The company realized from these sales, above taxes and expenses of management, $16,056,464.33, or an average of about $2.54 per acre.

     The first branch of the Union Pacific built in Nebraska was the line known as the Omaha & Republican Valley. It leaves the main line at Valley station, and running south, through the capital of the state, connects with the Kansas division at Manhattan. From Valparaiso a branch runs to Stromsburg, which is being pushed rapidly south and east by a large force. To the north and west runs the Black Hills branch, which leaves the main line at Columbus. The points now reached are Norfolk, Albion and Cedar Rapids. Work upon the extension from Albion is now progressing rapidly and the road will soon reach into the extreme northwest. From Grand Island, the Loup City branch leaves the main line. This branch is also being pushed into the northwest on two divisions. An important adjunct of the Union Pacific system is


which came under their control in 1879. This road connects with the main line at Grand Island. From there it bears due south to Hastings, thence in a southeasterly direction through the counties of Clay, Nuckolls, Thayer and Jefferson, touching the leading towns in the South Platte country, and at St. Joseph, forming an important outlet to St. Louis and points in the southwest. The extensions laid out from this line for the coming season are of considerable magnitude and importance. From Fairfield to Sutton, running through Clay Centre, a branch is now constructed and in operation. It is being pushed as rapidly as possible on to Lushton, a new town, thence to York and Stromsburg. From McCool Junction, nine miles south of York, a line will run south through Fairmont, Tobias and several new towns to Fairbury. The western line will start from Fairfield and run almost due west to Minden, thence southwest to Alma. This is the programme laid out for the present season. It is not understood that the line stopping at Alma will never be extended. In fact, its extension is regarded as one of the events of the near future. There are also indications of a northwestern addition from Minden. It might also be added that voices from North Platte are to the effect that the Union Pacific has secured right of way and is now grading a line from that place to the northwest.

     In the following table is given a summary of the number of miles operated by the Union Pacific company in Nebraska:


Mainline from Omaha to Pine Bluff


Omaha & Republican Valley branch


Omaha, Niobrara and Black Hills branch


Grand Island and North Loup branch


St. Paul and Loup City branch




     It should be also stated in this connection that this division of the Union Pacific operates over 2,500 miles of road, while, with the Kansas and other divisions the entire system comprises a grand total of not less than 4,000 mile in active operation.

Maps & labels

To all points in

Nebraska, Northwestern Kansas, Colorado and Utah

The only line via

Denver & Salt Lake City to San Francisco, Los Angeles and all California Points

  Pamphlets giving valuable information regarding Nebraska, northwestern Kansas and eastern Colorado accompanied by a large map will be mailed free upon application to P. S. Custis, O. P. A. Burlington route4 Omaha. For further information regarding tickets, rates, etc. apply to any ticket agent in the United States and Canada or to
G.P. & T.A.C.B. & Q. R. R.
Chicago, Ill.
G.P. & T.A.Han. & St.Joe R.R.
St. Joseph, Mo.
G.P. & T.A. B.& M. R. R. R.
Omaha, Neb.


     Of the great lines of railroad that enter the state none are of more importance or contribute more to its welfare than the Burlington & Missouri (,) the western extension of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy system. This road with its branches occupies a major part of the celebrated Republican valley, a tract of country of inexhaustible fertility and destined to be one of the most thickly settled and productive agricultural regions on the globe. The policy of this great corporation has been marked throughout with more than ordinary interest in the welfare of the country through which their lines run. The company's headquarters are located at Lincoln, where they have a substantial three story stone and brick building fitted up with the most approved appointments for the work to which it is devoted.

     The company received from the government a grant of 2,382,208 acres of land, to which the state ordered a donation of 50,000 acres. Besides this, with the Omaha & Western, which became a part of this system, they got 190,000 acres. Of this immense tract of land the last report of the board of transportation shows that up to June 30, 1886 2,280,577.88 acres had been sold. From these sales the company has realised (sic) $7,408,126.70 or an average of about $4.89 per acre. The company has paid into the state treasury as taxes upon its lands $1,130,855.55. August 1, 1879, the company owned and operated in the state 443 miles of road. That number has now been increased to nearly 1,500 miles, which will be augmented by a number of extensions during the present season.

     The Burlington & Missouri enters the state at Plattsmouth, where it crosses the Missouri river on a splendid steel bridge three hundred and fifty feet in length. This bridge was erected at an enormous expense. The piers upon which it stands rest upon the bed rock fifty feet below the low water mark; the bridge hanging fifty feet above the highwater mark. From Oreapolis a branch runs to the city of Omaha. From Lincoln the main line runs almost due west to Kearney Junction, a distance of 136 miles. Through passengers and freight leave this line at Kenesaw and proceed by way of Holdrege, Oxford and McCook to Denver. From Holdrege a branch runs due west which is now operated as far as Curtis and it is understood will ere long be extended to Ogallala and on into the northwest. Running due south from Hastings is the middle division, which, including the western section to Oxford is 106 miles in length. A branch which is destined to prove of no small importance is that leaving the Republican valley at Republican and now operated as far as Oberlin, Kas. This line enters a splendid section of country which is now time of remarkable activity in the line of settlement and development. Another branch, which is making discoveries in the state of Kansas, extends southwest from Odell, Neb., and is now operated as far as Concordia, Kas. From Orleans, in Harlan county, a line known as the Pueblo branch leaves the main road and will run to the south and west through Furnas and possibly the southern por- tion of Red Willow counties, into Kansas.

     In 1876, the Burlington & Missouri company came into possession of the old Nebraska railway which then oper- ated a line from Nebraska City northwest through Otoe and Lancaster counties and into Seward as far as the county seat. Since that time this line has been extended through York and Hamilton counties to Grand Island and on into the North Platte country at present as far as Lee (?), and the near future will see it still further in the northwest, being headed, as its title indicates for the great coal fields of Wyoming. That this line supplies an important place in the railway service of the state, it is only necessary to call attention to the counties through which it passes, which are among the richest in the state.

     Of the many lines of railway radiating from Lincoln, few furnish a more important line of transportation than the Atchison & Nebraska, one of the leased lines of the Burlington & Missouri system. Running in a southeasterly direction it passes through the rich grain growing counties of Lancaster, Gage, Johnson, Pawnee and Richardson, in Nebraska, south into Kansas a distance of 148 miles to Atchison, where it forms connections which gives it a route for shipment of produce to St. Louis and advantages that no competing line can wrest from it. North from Lincoln an extension connects with the Union Pacific system at Columbus.

     It is not necessary to give an extended review of all the branches of this system in the South Platte country. A glance at the map will show that very few counties of this district but are visited. Its combined lines make four great parallels traversing the whole length of the district, while branches are built and are being built in every direction that the trade demands.

     But north of the Platte river there is also an empire, that conquest of which is rapidly going on and the Burlington & Missouri company by their actions show that they propose to have their share of the spoils. One step in the occupation of this country is the line now constructed and in operation from Ashland, through Wahoo to Schuyler, on the Union Pacific. It is not, however, to stop here, but will proceed on into the northwest. Norfolk being named as a point in the articles of incorporation. From Central City, also an extension four hundred miles in length will run into the best of the great northwest territory. A large force are now at work on the line and it is expected that by the 4th of July trains will be running as far at least as St. Paul, the county seat of Howard county. It is estimated by those situated to know that the B&M will this year build not less than 500 miles of road.


     The history of this great system of railroads in this state covers comparatively but a short time. Four years ago it made its introduction into the state with a line from the south through the river tier of counties to Omaha.  Then a branch was built from Weeping Water to Lincoln that they might receive a share of the large railroad business centering at that place.

     The facilities offered by this road of a quick and easy route to the sea-board need not be explained at length. They are fami- liar to everyone. These reasons alone make it of inestimable value to the shipping and jobbing interests of the state. The policy of the management of the company and the plans for the future so far as known indicate that Nebraska is to be the scene of important movements, which it goes with- out saying, will redoubt greatly to the benefit of the state.  The company is at present surveying a line, which it is expected will be completed in time to move the year's crop and which will run from Warwich, Kas., north through Nickolls (sic) county to Hastings.  Extensive preparations are also under way for lines from the eastern to the western portions of the state.

     The exact plan to be carried out is not at present known outside the management, but it is safe to say that the Missouri Pacific company will build not less than 200 miles of road in Nebraska during the current season. The irons are now being put upon a line running from Nebraska City to Auburn.  It is confidently affirmed that a line is to be run from Talmage in Otoe county, about due west to Crete and Beaver Crossing.  Here this line will be met by an extension of the Lincoln line which will be continued to Hastings. Some portions of this line are now being graded.

Mo. Pacific Railway

Shortest, Quickest and Best Route


Atchinson, St. Joseph, Leavenworth, Kansas City, St. Louis and all Points South and East.

Favorite Route to Los Angeles


Two Trains Daily

Between Lincoln and St. Louis. The chair car route to Omaha. Reclining Chair Cars on all through trains free. For Folders, Circulars and other information apply to

General Agent, Lincoln, Neb.

     G. P. and T. A., St. Louis, Mo.


     In July 1886, this great company commenced the construction of a line under the name of Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska railway, which, in January of the present year, was completed to Fairbury, in Jefferson county. From here the main line will continue to Denver. It is also confidently stated that a branch will run from here into the northwest, the exact route of which is not yet established. There is little doubt, however, the Rock Island will hardly forego the opportunity of securing a portion of the patronage which is destined to come from that section of the state.


enters the state at Sioux City, and runs thence south to Omaha. At Emerson a branch runs to Norfolk. This line is important as furnishing easy access to the milling interests of Minnesota and the vast lumber regions of Wisconsin, and the northwest. The general officers of the company are located at St. Paul.


     What today constitutes the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley railroad commenced some fifteen or sixteen year ago as a very small affair. With the exception of quite a settlement at West Point there was very little occupation in the country above Fremont. The Union Pacific had been pushed through the previous decade and induced settlements along the Platte river for some considerable distance out into the state, but aside from that there was but little settlement except in the eastern border counties.

     The Elkhorn road was extended to West Point and settlement followed as did the grasshopper season, which discouraged proposed or expected immigration and in fact many of those who had at that time ventured into the new country became discouraged and bankrupt and left, the impression obtaining that grasshoppers were to be a yearly visitation. It took some years to restore confidence in that country.

     Then the road was extended to Wisner where it remained for some years, still a feeble plant and but for the fact that it was owned by men of ample means and who had been accustomed to making investments in the west, banking on its future developments, it is doubtful whether it would have retained that vital spark of existence but the men behind the enterprise were the class of men who do not fail, and in due course of time settlements began to spread out through the valleys and back onto the table lands on every side. Grasshoppers ceased to be a dread, and the line was extended to Battle Creek, then to Oakdale, to Neligh and Long Pine and Valentine, with a branch from Norfolk through Pierce into Knox county.

     The impression obtained with very many people, and to a large extent too with the owners of this property, even at this late day, that the lands of northern Nebraska, which were then occupied as great cattle ranges, by immense herds which spread over the entire North Platte country to the Dakota border would never be occupied by any other industry or interest, but the extension of this line, as above, developed directly the reverse of this as the truth. The company never having asked, nor received a land grant, were building the line with their own private funds, and this left the country adjacent to it open to settlement by homesteading and pre-emption at the will of any citizen of the United States who chose to come, occupy and improve. The inspiring announcement that here were offered "free homes for the millions" touched a sympathetic cord in the minds of the masses in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, where settlements had become so thick that range was limited; and in fact values high and families growing up needing and requiring more room for enlarged interests. The sturdy farmer who had when a young man emigrated to Iowa when it was as free from population as the district than was, found himself possessed of a good farm of 160 to 320 acres, but with a grown family of boys as well, who in turn desired more land and homes for themselves. The land in Iowa having become valuable and high priced, these boys had to seek other places to obtain their homes, and it is out of just such material as that that now Nebraska and along the line of the Elkhorn road responded to the above announcement by coming from Iowa and other adjacent states, where their sturdy thrift had made valuable homes, and now these boys, accepting the government's free gift of ?? acres in northern Nebraska, planted themselves, as their fathers had done. Very soon it became known definitely that this whole territory was admirably adapted for all agricultural purposes. Good soil, good water and an unequaled climate tell their own story, and thousands upon thousands located there to take homesteads and pre-empting. Thousands of old soldiers, who had rights in advance of others, laid their claims in the country. Then this line began to attract the attention of other capitalists and the Chicago and Northwestern Rail- road company purchased the property by taking into their company, not only the property, but the original owners of the property, who became a solid and wealthy force in the Northwestern company and remain so to this day. Under this new impetus the line was extended from Valentine to Chadron, the unoccupied tract west of Brown county was organized into new counties with district boundaries, and Cherry, Sheridan, Dawes and Sioux were the offspring of this legislative division and as the line has been completed to Chadron, and the Black Hills in Fall River county, Da- kota, where it crossed the Cheyenne river and thence skirted along the eastern slope of the Black Hills to Rapid City, the county seat of Pennington county, Dakota, and here it rests at present, but construction will be extended beyond Rapid City this year up the Spring Creek valley to Sturgis and beyond. Then renewing the work west on the main line in order to reach nearer the immense cattle ranges and herds in central Wyoming, it was extended through the north and west counties of Nebraska to old Fort Fetterman, or what is now the city of Douglas on the north bank of the North Platte river and in all Albany county, Wyoming. Some sixty additional miles reaching to old Fort Casper in Carbon county, Wyoming have been graded and during the present season will be ironed and open for operation. Strange as it may seem, settlements followed the various extensions, and today in the heart of Sheridan, Dawes and Sioux counties a thick population have planted themselves and are developing marvelous agricultural results.

     On the Black Hills line the immigration followed into Dakota clear to Rapid City and beyond. Towns have sprung up. Trade has prospered, and the Black Hills have been immensely increased in population in consequence of the new facilities fro getting to and from. These Black Hills constitute today the richest mining camp in the world. Gold, silver, tin, copper, marble, gypsum, and fire clay, both in quality and quantity, unequaled and unfound anywhere else. All these are as yet in the infancy of development, but attracting capital and brains to a marvelous extent. There, too are what has been, as long back as tradition can give us information, the celebrated hot springs. These springs have been used by the Indians as their medicine waters with marvelous results, and their possession involved perhaps the most wondrous of Indians wars recorded. The Cheyenne, who possessed them, only yielded them to the much more power- ful Sioux nation after almost extermination in battle. These springs today have no superiour, probably, in this or any other country in sanitary benefits for various diseases.

     Returning to the mainline, westward from Chadron twenty-eight miles we find Old Fort Robinson, established years ago and one of the best as well as one of the most memorable and important of western military posts established by the government. Passing over into Wyoming and into the heart of the cattle ranges we find precious metals existing in every mountain, on the entire course. Old Fort Fetterman, abandoned some years since as a military post, has a history in Indian warfare which is known and taught in every school and has been for a generation. Through these canyons and along the Platte river the old hero, Fremont, wended his way on his voyage of discovery man years ago. Some distance beyond are boiling springs which break out of the precipitous rocks which form a bank of the river. In the mountain around Douglass is found coal, not yet thoroughly developed, but ample of an accommodation of all demands as are known and probably in unlimited quantities. Beyond this is the Poison Spider valley and at the base of oil (?) mountains is a range of country about one hundred and fifty miles in extent east and west by seventy-five north and south; which constitutes the oil belt in the heart of the continent. Here is oil on every stream, oil oozing out of every rock, and oil covering the surface of the ground. Companies have been formed and development will follow now that railroad communication solves the problem of transportation. The line having been extended up the beautiful Elkhorn valley to its source, and thence across the Long Pine and Plum Creek canyons into the Niobrara river valley, follows the course of the latter stream to its source in Wyoming, traversing the counties of Dodge, Cuming, Stanton, Madison, Pierce, Knox, Antelope, Holt, Brown, Cherry, Sheridan, Dawes and Sioux, in Nebraska. Their necessities demanding convenient access to the capital of the state, a line was then constructed from Fremont directly to the city of Lincoln through the counties of Dodge, Saunders and Lancaster. Another line was also constructed from a point on the main line a mile above Scibner through that portion of Dodge and through Colfax and Platte counties and now com- pleted to Albion, in Boone county. This line will be extended this year north from Albion to an intersection with the main line at Oakdale in Antelope county. In recognition also of the importance of reaching Nebraska's most populous city a line is being constructed and will be completed before September 1, from Arlington, in Washington county, directly to Omaha. Another line leaving the Lincoln line just south of the Platte river is now in process of construction southwestward to Seward, Neb. Another line through Butler, Polk, York and Hamilton counties to Hastings, Neb., both of which will be completed during the current year, and adding some three hundred or four hundred miles to the system during the year. The developments and settlements and thrift found along this entire line through northern Nebraska, where are several millions of acres of free government land which is available to the settler, have been phenomenal. The country is rich. The climate is marvelously good, and being on an altitude some two or three thousand feet above sea level, this whole section is free from malarial disease which are as common in new countries elsewhere. The building of so many new towns has furnished a demand for mechanics and laborers. Money has been fairly abundant and the best class of citizens occupy that country that we have ever known settled in a new country. The construction of these various lines, together with the connections which they have been able to arrange makes this Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley road and its connections equal to any line from Lincoln to any point in the east, north or northwest. It has developed interests to the state of Nebraska unsurpassed by any other section of the state, and a few years hence the demands upon the jobbing interest in all departments of trade in this section of country will tax the jobbing cities of the east portion of the state quite as much as any other section or territory within the state. The products of the country tributary to the line and opened by it will enrich the markets of Lincoln, Omaha, and other trade centers.


Maps & labels

Trains Leave Lincoln at 7:55 a. m. and 3:10 p. m.

R. BUCHANAN, G. P. A., Missouri Valley, Ia

L. M. Tyler, Agent

Union--Mo. Pac.--depot.  City office 115 South Tenth Street.


     There is in operation in the state something over 8,500 miles of railroad. This number is being as rapidly increased as is physically possible. The state is now the scene of unparalleled activity in the line of railroad extensions. It is probably safe to say that no state can show a record in the regard that will compare with that of Nebraska since the beginning of the year 1885.

     Of the total trackage in the state, fifty-three per cent is composed of steel rails. The sidings foot up 367.13 miles or about twelve percent of the main track.

     The board of transportation estimate the capital stock belonging to Nebraska roads at $60,292,839.03, or an average of $21,733.53 per mile. The roads in the state show an aggregate increase in their capital stock during the year just passed, to the amount of $19,445,750, of which $13,033,500 belongs to the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley. The Burlington & Missouri report a decrease in their capital stock in the amount of $686, 501.51. The aggregate debt on the roads of the state amounts to $83,122,823,24. The gross cost of the roads of the state for 1886 are estimated at $15,730,747,95. For 1885 the entire earnings were $14,149,318.75, showing an increase of $1,571,429.25 for the year just passed. The greatest increase was reported by the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley, amounting to $872,906.72. The total cost of operation was $8,207,304.16, which leaves the net earning at $7,513,443.77. The following is a tabulated statement of the percent of net earnings to capital stock and debt.

Per cent.

Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley


Sioux City & Pacific


Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha


Union Pacific


Omaha, Niobrara & Black Hills


Omaha & Republican Valley


St. Joseph & Grand Island


Missouri Pacific


Burlington & Missouri


     The railroad companies paid into the state treasury as taxes upon their several lines $647,204.10, or slightly over 8 per cent on the net earnings for the year. over 12,190 persons are employed to operate the railroads of the state, to whom was paid last year $6,745,454.25 or an average of $581.95 each. The present season will see many miles of track laid over the projected lines, especially in the north and west, where lies an enormous territory which all the companies show a special anxiety to occupy. It is probably safe to say that not less than twelve hundred miles will be added to the trackage of Nebraska railroads during the current year.

© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by Ted & Carole Miller
TOCSpacerNext page