Located in Bluff Precinct in the northeast corner of Hamilton County, Hordville was the last town to be established in the county. The Union Pacific decided to build a branch line from Stromsburg to Central City and acquired needed land for the right-of-way. City improvement Company of Stromsburg were given the right to plat two towns 7 1/2 miles apart between the two points. However, they were unable to secure land at these distances and it was decided to settle for one town. The town site for Hordville was acquired by negotiations with John Litzenberg, John Larson, Andrew Person, Nels Bengtson and the Fridhem Lutheran Church, the latter voting to sell 30 of its 40 acres. One hundred dollars per acre was paid for land, double the going price. The area was platted and lots offered for sale September 12, 1906, and was incorporated in 1916. the town was given the name to honor T.B.Hord, a prosperous cattle feeder of Central City. For a brief period after the town was founded the post office continued under the name of Stark. Fridhem Church and its parsonage provided the nucleus for the town. Cornfields and lands were quickly cleared to make way for buildings, sidewalks and streets.
The day after the sale of lots, H.M. Benson began to build a general store for Axel F. Johnson. An addition was later built.. The store had many owners including Oscar Branting, Willis and Wilson, Homer Branting, Victor Suntych, Mr. pillar, Martin McConnell and Merlin Builford. Cyrus Ramey started a general store in a few days at the South end of the block., which was turned into a photograph studio by Edgar Draper, followed by a variety of businesses before being torn down.
A little inland town of Stark one and one half miles east of Hordville was a predecessor to Hordville. It had a general store, creamery, implement and blacksmith shops. Charles O. Rydson was an early postmaster there, and operated the store with A.J. Hanquiest. The store, which was later moved to Hordville, was managed by Lucas Comstock. Joel Carlstrom, a harness maker, had his place upstairs when a spectacular fire burned it out. The Stark Implement was also transported into Hordville in 1910.
The First State Bank received its charter September 10, 1906, along with the beginning of the town. Banking operations were conducted in the drug store while the building was being erected. Organized with a capital stock of $10,000, by the town's planners, the board of directors included Wesley Nathan, and Victor Wilson, and C.Victor Nelson, cashier, all of Stromsburg. In 1910, the bank sold to W.I. Farley and AW. Hickman, with P.J. Refshauge taking over as cashier. The bank has always been a stable and valued institution and is a vital factor in the town and community. Many small towns have lost their banks but Hordville has been most fortunate in having this secure institution.
The first blacksmith shop and planing mill was run by Thede Larson, later H.M. Benson and P.J.Refshauge. The George A. Hoagland Lumber Company had the first business which later became Hordville Lumber Company, now disbanded. F.I. Wallin operated the town's only hotel, and a grocery and market. There were three doctors in the town at one time, four grocery stores, barber shop, drug store, two grain elevators and jewelry store.
Train service was good in the early days, with both passenger and freight trains on the line. One could go to Central City in the morning and return in the evening, this train made its last run January 27, 1952. The first home in the town was built by Chester Levick.
Settlers built their churches as soon as possible. Fridhem Lutheran was built in 1882. The First Baptist Church was moved in from the country in 1920. The members of the North Blue Methodist Church located two miles south and a mile east of Hordville, built a new church in Hordville in 1907.
The local school pictures in an interesting manner the early history and progress of the area. The firs school was located a mile west and a half mile south of town. An early settler recalls her parents settled near a place called Mirimichi, about a mile west of the present town. There was a post office and a store run by a missionary to the Indians. The school was a sod cabin and served as a church as well. Later a frame building replaced the soddy. In a885, the school building was moved a half mile south of the present town. The school at times, was so crowded that three children shared a double seat and desk, for when the farm work was slack at times as many as 60 students were enrolled. In 1911, it was decided to move to the new town and a brick schoolhouse was built. It went into use January 1, 1912. Ray Peters was first school superintendent The school firs had 10 grades and later 12. In 1928, the building was enlarged and in 1952, the district consolidated with neighboring districts. The PTA was organized in 1925.
The Town Hall, the oldest building in town, has been versatile, serving many purposes. First as Fridhem Church, Swedish summer school by the Lutherans, by the Baptists, lodge hall for R.N.A. and Modern Woodmen and other groups.
The Hordville Co-operative Elevator Company, is the fourth oldest elevator of its kind in the state. In October during Cooperative month in Nebraska, Gordon Busboom of the Nebraska Cooperative Council, announced that this was one of the five Nebraska Cooperatives to be given special recognition for its long-time record of service to the community.
Starting with a small elevator, a flour and storage building was added in 1913, increased office space was added in 1920, and a new elevator with storage capacity of 65,000 bushels, a new office and 50 foot scale.
Early Settlers 1871 - 1883
Bluff Precint listed these settlers from 1872 to 1880: from Sweden came John Rydson, A.P. Johnson, Chas Osterman, Peter and Andrew Erickson, Ola Lyon, Chars J. Reed, E.M. Burke, Chas J. Swanson, John W. Nelson, Frank S. Anderson, Charles Anderson, Nels Bengston, A.J. Hanquist, Victor Anderson, John Nicholson; from Pennsylvania, John A. Wagoner, Wm Campbell, and J.H. Wilder; Chars Hahn came from Germany, John Brown from Indiana; David Dunn from Illinois; H. M. Halleck from Wisconsin; Ole P. Johnson from Norway; Henry Rasmussen from Denmark. Between 1880 and 1883, there were from Sweden, Carl O Lindahl, Andrew Person, John Stranberg and John Jackson, and from Ohio, Felix Conner, T.W.and Be.E. Mendnhall. Hundreds more can to the area in the next five years.
In the early 1870's, still another group of Swedish immigrants came to this section who were of the Baptist faith. They were August Andersons, August Linds, August Carlsons, John Rydsons, and A.P. Johson, who came in 1872, and John Benson and Isaac Benson with their parents, Iverson and Andrew Johnsons, who came in 1873.
Reverend William C.. Williams was the first minister of the Hordville Methodist Church, in 1905. No list of charter members or dedicatory services can be found. The first congregation was made up of members from the North Blue Methodist Church, southwest of Hordville, which had a church connection with the Methodist Church at Marquette as they shared the same pastor. After the village of Hordville was founded, those members of the North Blue, who decided to have a place of worship in the village, broke away, held services for some time in District No 61 schoolhouse, a half mile south of town. There was a a great sadness when the church had to be discontinued but for a half century the edifice served its people well, and many felt its influence and much work was done for the glory of God.
The Lindale Cemetery was originally the Hordville Swedish Baptist Cemetery. The church transferred it to the Lindale Cemetery Corporatin in 1955, at which time perpetual care was arranged. August Lind contributed the two acres which comprise the grounds. A sod house was located here for a time and non-denomination services were held there. The first adult was buried in 1875, and some children were buried earlier.
Three miles north and one and one-half miles east of Hordville on a hill overlooking the Platte River is River View Cemetery. Dates on grave markers indicate it has been years since burials took place here. It is the resting place of four Civil War Veterans, namely: Lemuel Cross, Milton Scott, Hiram Masten and George Putnam.
"Centennial History of Hamilton County 1867-1967"
by Bertha G. Bremer