Hamilton County NEGenWeb Project
Though never incorporated, the small village of Murphy had a life span of about 41 years, and today all that remains is the grain elevator, around which the village sprang up in the first place. This elevator was built in 1909, five miles west of Aurora and within the mile north where the Burlington line intersects, and was ready for business in the fall of 1910. Alva Lewis was its first manager. The following year the Grosshans Lumber Company opened a yard there with Henry Grosshans as its first manager. This continued to function for about 35 years.
W.I. Farley, interested in starting a bank and promoting the growth of the area, built a combined bank building and grocery store on the west side. The First State Bank of Murphy started business in 1915, with Mr. Farley president; A.W. Hickman, vice-president and M.E. Isaacson, cashier. The latter went to Marquette in 1919, and Ivan Bengston became cashier. When he came to Aurora, Harry Boesen took the post and remained until the bank went into receivership and paid its depositors $ .65 on the dollar. The grocery opened with S.J. Johnson as owner. Later, Martin Fisher was the grocer and he remained until 1941. A second grocery was built on the east side in 1917, by Vic Swanson who remained until he closed out in about 1920.
About six modern bungalows were built and a clean-cut little town was in the making until the bank closed. However, the surrounding community was a progressive one and they took over the Swanson grocery and made it into a community hall. for many years it was a social gathering place in the community, with suppers, home talent programs, and all kinds of entertainment and socializing. This continued until changing times forced it to be abandoned in about 1951. Sometime thereafter, a tornado wrecked the building. Meanwhile, the homes were moved elsewhere, and only the elevator remains, owned now by the Aurora Co-operative.
"Centennial History of Hamilton County 1867-1967"
by Bertha G. Bremer
See the story, "The Great Depression", on the Events and Stories page to see a remembrance about Hamilton County, and especially Murphy during the Depression.