A new town in Hamilton County!! What great news! Enthusiasm was high at the auction on September 12, 1906.
The Union Pacific Railroad had authorized the City Improvement Company of Stromsburg to plat a town on the land acquired for extending a branch line from that town to Central City. Land had been purchased from the Swedish church and several farmers for $100 an acre. Here was the chance to be a part of the new town, “Hordville”, name for T. B. Hord, a prominent cattle feeder and grain dealer.
At that time there were only two buildings on the town site, the Fridhem Lutheran Church, erected in 1882, and a parsonage. The village was planned with a wide boulevard extending down the main street and ending in a park. Lots sold quickly. The next day work began on a store on the west side of Main Street, originally selling general merchandise, and later becoming a grocery store.
Soon after the tracks were laid by Greek and Chinese workers, and with cornfields all around, new buildings sprang up all down the street. Two buildings were moved in from Stark, a trading post east of Hordville, which was abandoned when the railroad came. The First State Bank capitalized with $10,000 and chartered on September 10, 1906, opened in temporary quarters even before its building was completed.
During the next few years Hordville boomed. It boasted of having five doctors, four grocery stores, a drugstore, a jewelry store, a hardware store, a photography studio, a garage, a blacksmith shop, a hatchery, and a large lumberyard (which was sometimes used for basketball games.) There was a barbershop, a shoe repair shop, and a cafe, in addition to a hotel and livery stable used by traveling salesmen, boarders, and visitors to the community.
The original Hord Elevator, located south of the railroad, soon had competition from area farmers who organized a co-operative association and built a new elevator. This Farmers Co-op is the fourth oldest in the state and has replaced both old structures with a much larger, better-equipped facility.
When a new church was built, the original church building was moved to the main street in 1908 and used as an opera house and town hall. In 1921 the First Baptist Church, also Swedish congregation, was moved to town. These two churches remain an active and vital part of the community. The Methodist Church, built in 1907, closed in 1955.
In 1912 a school was built in town for the students of District 61. With enlargements and modernization, it served the community for many years. Hordville has a proud history of achievement in music, drama, and athletics. The original District 61 schoolhouse is located on the Plainsman Museum property.
From Nebraska Our Towns: Central Southeast - article by Gladys Anderson 1987, with the help of Marie Clayton and Verna Erickson
Edits and updates by the Plainsman Museum 2018, to reflect our mission.
OUR MISSION: The Plainsman Museum is a not-for-profit institution, which focuses on the time from 1860-1950, that collects, preserves, illustrates, and works to establish the History of Hamilton County, Nebraska, through education, exhibits, research, and maintenance of relevant archives and collections.