could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers


Today is:

Elm Creek

Elm Creek First Established –

UP Railroad was completed across Buffalo County (1866-67)

A siding was put in. Nearby was a creek lined with red elms which the railroad crew called Elm Creek. So the siding was called Elmcreek.

The name was one word until World War II

Station established, named Elm Creek. D. C. Bond, agent. He was also the first postmaster.

U P Depot – D. C. Bond, agent
                    Eating place & saloon
                    20 min stop to put on wood & eat

“Also at Elm Creek was located an eating house, Charles Davis proprietor, and the emigrant train, carrying passengers, was scheduled to stop twenty minutes for meals at this point. Mr. Davis also kept a saloon….Stations were few and far between on the railroad in the early days and travelers who indulged in strong drink embraced every opportunity offered to lay in a supply in bottles and jugs. The presence of liquors on the emigrant train made much trouble for the trainmen, and it is related that the following plan of lessening the evil was adopted at Elm Creek in co-operation between the trainmen and Mr. Davis the saloonkeeper.

On the arrival of the emigrant train refusal was made to sell liquors in bottles and jugs on the plea that the trainmen objected, but the would be purchasers were informed that if they would quietly wait until the train was due to leave and the trainmen elsewhere employed, they could have all the bottles and jugs of liquors they desired.

Hence it was at the last moment those who wished loaded up with wet goods. After the train had left for the West it was discovered that the wet goods consisted of cold tea and for a mile or more west of the station the roadside was lined with broken jugs and bottles.”

First homesteaders in Elm Creek before 1880
1871-- 4.
1872—14 including Fannie Nevius, H. B. Steele, John Tyler, D. C. Bond, D.

1873-- 4
1874-- 11 including J. T. Shufflebarger
1875—7 including Sarah Calkins & A. Shufflebarger and J. Shufflebarger
1876-- 2
1877—1 (drought & grasshoppers)
1878—4 including W. C. Shufflebarger.
1879—14 including N. O. Calkins

First mention in Bassett:

John Oliver had been appointed both sheriff and assessor (1871)
Later James Oliver was appointed assessor and served as the first assessor in the county.

“It is related that in the western part of the county there were a few settlers who boasted that they had never been assessed and would not be and they would make it warm for anyone who attempted to assess their property.”

(Four homesteaded in 1871, possibly the ones who were not going to be assessed.)

On this official trip the assessor was accompanied by his brother, John, the sheriff. When they arrived the few settlers at Elmcreek began making threats and firing their guns, but the Oliver brothers were not easily bluffed and replied that they had guns and could shoot if necessary, but that the assessment must be made and there was no use making a fuss about it. After a long parley the assessor was permitted to perform his official duty.

First Location – 1 mile west of present location

Elm Creek Station
Eating house and saloon
Post office
Catholic Church
3 houses, at least 2 were sod

Second Location – 1 mile east, 1883, railroad built a depot there.

Incorporation of Village – January 12, 1887

First village board being N. O. Calkins, H. D. Beecroft, E. O. Carpenter, H. Nantker, D. C. Bond

Newspaper – Elm Creek Sun was first – first issue June 2, 1886. Then there was the Pilot in the 1890’s. In about 1900 E. C. Krewson bought the Beacon (Gibbon) and moved it to Elm Creek.

Flour mill – 1897 to before 1915

Fire – July 1 1906, burned 14 buildings “a better Elm Creek, with larger and more durable buildings has risen in its place.” Early pictures of business section are dated by whether there are wood or brick buildings.

Churches – Christian 1910; Methodist, Dec. 1872 (funeral service); Catholic, 1871 or 2, (met in section house, no other meeting place)

Streets – named for early settlers.

School district No. 9 was organized June 19, 1872. 40 children of school age in district.

UP shipped lumber from Omaha free to build it. (not sod!) Then moved into town. When a larger building was built in 1890, the old one was used as an Episcopal Church and then (by 1916) as a chapel by an undertaker.

10 grade school became 12 grade in 1913 and had 7 teachers

A Community Survey of Elm Creek, Nebraska
By the Division of Nebraska Resources, 1962

1960 population – 778

Trade area – 10 miles radius

Vacant buildings – 3 brick, two were single story, one was two-story

Existing industry – 2 alfalfa mills and a roofing company

Employment: Utilities 6; wholesale & retail trade 75; finance-insur-real estate 7; services (TV, restaurants, garages) 8

Unemployed: 20 male; 10 female

Average Wages – Common labor $1.40; semi-skilled 1.75; carpenters, electricians, plumbers 2.00; truck drivers 2.00; bulldozer operators 2.50

Average Office – male clerks $1.25; female clerks & secretaries $1.00 ($.50-1.75)

Miscellaneous female labor – waitress $0.90; cook $1.00

Railroad section (male) – 1.90


Sugar beet crop – Piled up outside for shipment by rail

Elm Creek Gets New Business – ground breaking for Chevyland Collection owned by M/M Mort Hollertz of Holdrege, son Allen did/does restoration – started as hobby in early 1960’s

Originally located on west edge of Minden.

Elm Creek Pilot 1897
....Tuesday morning people doing business of Front Street found loaded pistol cartridges stuck into the keyholes in their doors, and were somewhat mystified as to where they came from or what it all was intended for. George WILHELMY is one of our "early risers" and was able to cast some light on the mystery as he had seen Gen. MOORE, the Cuban recruiting officer, place the cartridges in the keyholes early in the morning, which were to give signal for the general march against the Spaniards. MOORE is in bad shape mentally and James LAYCOCK has been detailed to keep guard over him. He is fitfully active and insists on being around the depot every time a train pulls in and signals wildly, much to the annoyance of the crews. All in all he is the craziest man outside the state asylum.

Morning Times, May 4, 1910
It begins to look as though Elm Creek was going to be dry this year in spite of the vote a short time ago. The trouble all comes over the amount of cost of license. Former years it has been $1000. But the village board raised it to $1500 this year. Before the raise there were 2 applications but now they have taken wings and flown.


Elm Creek - 1923 Kearney Hub
A good time was enjoyed by all at the Fairview basket dinner Thursday evening. Each lady took her name in a walnut shell, the walnut shell being sold instead of the baskets. A set of scales were handy, each lady being weighed. Their partners paid one cent per pound. This was a new way of buying suppers and it aroused great excitement.

[I'll bet! Was each supper paid for twice... once for the name and again by the weight of the lady who prepared it?]


Elm Creek book – 2 envelopes of clippings, etc. in file cabinet – Card file boxes.

This is our cat looking for stories

Our Cat Smoky looking for files.

Copyright ©   All rights reserved


You may use content from this web site for your personal, not-for-profit purposes.  Please contact the Buffalo County Historical Society at <> for permission to use the Buffalo Tales


 Search Our Site

Please Send Mardi Anderson your Comments/Feedback

Revised: 05/15/2011