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This special edition of the Lincoln State Journal was intended to PROMOTE Nebraska as a state,
and provide the towns with an opportunity to advertise their status and attract new residents.


Lincoln State Journal
Sunday, 5 June 1887


Capitalists Seeking Investment,

All Should Visit















The Booming City of Southern Nebraska.

Jefferson Co., Neb.

The Garden Spot of Earth.

Unsurpassed by any city of Proportional
size in the West. A chance to double your
investment in six months.

Division Headquarters

of the
Chicago, Kansas & Nebraska R.R.,
(Great Rock Island route.)
Kansas City & Omaha R.R.,
St. Joseph and Grand Isalnd R.R.
And within a year will have the
C.B. & Q.R.R. and C. & N. W.R.R.

A Magnificent Opening for a $25,000 Hotel.


The County Seat of Jefferson County.

A Review of its Splendid Advantages.
The Center of Important Railroad Operations-Destined to be the Site of Important Manufacturing Interests. The Record of the Past and the Prospects for the Future-A point Not to be Overlooked by the Seeker for a Home or Investment.

The city of Fairbury is the county seat of Jefferson county, Neb., and situated upon the Little Blue river, sixty-eight miles southeast of Lincoln, with which it has railroad communication by competing lines. It is nine miles north of the Nebraska and Kansas line on the famous fortieth parallel of latitude. The idea is now familiar that along this parallel and near it, around the girdled globe, lie denser populations, more large cities, health more generally enjoyed, wealth more generally diffused, commerce more widespread, and culture, morality and religion have higher and fuller sway, than on any line north or south of it. On this line are developed the greatest men, the world has ever seen. Let one not familiar with this fact take a globe and follow around it the fortieth parallel of north latitude and he will be surprised to find how much of all that is best is found near this genial and equable line.

Commercially considered the location of Fairbury is more favorable than any of her sister cities, being surrounded by as fair and fertile a country as ever the sun shone upon, with four diverging lines of railway to the markets of the east and south, and the rapidly extending markets of the west and northwest. With an abundance of stone, lime and brick clay for building purposes and superior facilities for the importaion of lumber, with a water power the full development of which will make Fairbury one of the leading manufacturing cities of the west, it will be seen that Fairbury has not built her hopes of future prosperity on a sandy foundation, but on the best base of all-the unsurpassed resources of the adjacent and tributary territory.


One of the prime factors to the prosperity of any city is a good system of railroads, and in this particular Fairbury is especially favored.

THE ST. JOSEPH & GRAND ISLAND RAILROAD extends east to St. Joseph, where it connects with the great trunk lines for Chicago and St. Louis, and northwest from Fairbury to Grand Island, where it connects with the Union Pacific railroad for the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The St. Joseph & Grand Island railroad under its present energetic and efficient management, is now building the


from Fairbury to Omaha via Stromsburg, thus giving to Fairbury another direct and competing line to Omaha and lincoln, making Fairbury the initial point and division station of this of this road, and it now has a large force at work on its roundhouse, machine shops and other improvements needed for division and terminal facilities.


diverging at Fairbury, one great arm reaching south and west along the fortieth parallel to Denver, and the other reaching to the great cattle country of northwestern Nebraska and Wyoming. In July, 1886, the Chicago, Kansas & Nebraska Railway (the great Rock Island route) commenced the construction of their line east and west, from Fairbury, completing the same to St. Joseph by January 1, 1887, thus giving Fairbury direct communication with Chicago by one continuouis line-the great Rock Island route. After selecting Fairbury as the division station for its main line and diverging lines to Denver and the northwest, this company purchased a large tract of ground for division facilities, paying for its real estate in Faibury the sum of $36,033. The company have already erected upon its grounds a large and commodious brick roundhouse and other improvements to the amount of $24,000 and their proposed work is hardly commenced.

The record of the Rock Island railroad company is a sufficient guarantee of the material benefit that will accrue to Fairbury from the location of its line through, and establishment of its division station in our city.

The selection of Fairbury by the Rock Island road as the junction of its two great diverging lines gives our city special advantage as a commercial point. One of these lines will traverse 400 miles of fertile prairie, teeming with agricultural wealth and prosperity, passing through every countyseat and important town in the northern tier of counties of Kansas to the great mountain metropolis-Denver, and the other no less important line extending northwest throught eh rich and populous conties of central Nebraska to the great cattle raising districts and coal fields of Wyoming.

Along these great lines must flow to and through our city the wealth of Wyoming and Colorado, its cattle, its coal, its trees, and the products of its mines, as well as the productions of the vast agricultural territory lying between, than which no country has a greater diversity, or in greater abundance. The Kansas City & Omaha railroad opens up a new field to the north between Fairbury and Omaha. The St. Joe & Grand Island railroad, extending ninety-nine miles northwest to Grand Island and one hundred and fifty-two miles east to St. Joseph, is dotted its whole length with prosperous towns, all backed by rich farming country. Thus by a magnificent system of railroads, making every part of Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado easily accessible, there is opened up for our city an almost unlimited country for trade.


The future by the light of the past business done in 1886. When the record of 1886 was finished the average citizen was too much of a western man to say he was surprised at the results, but that in his opinion it wouldn't hurt to let the figures circulate. Indeed it was only after close examination that your correspondent could make himself believe that a city of four thousand people could have handled (received and shipped) 3,768 cars of material, paying therefor as freight $109,008.23. This, of course, is not for the city alone, for Fairbury has become a local distributing point of great imprtance, but also for the adjacent county and tributary towns. This cannot be more clearly shown than by the excess of freight paid for goods received over goods shipped. The railroad books show the freight on goods shipped to be $29,161.20, while on goods received $79,846.97, a difference of over fifty thousand dollars. This, too, in '86, when there was but one railroad in operation. Now there are two roads running twelve trains daily, and work is well under way on two more to be in operation by March 1, 1888. Thus without a direct effort on the part of anyone, Fairbury has become an important distributing point. It is usually easy to see the reason after events have transpired. So in this case. Even a casual examination of the map is sufficient to show Fairbury's favorable location for a local wholesale point. In this respect, of couse, the beginnning has scarcely been made. But granting that the northern central counties of Kansas and the southern central of Nebraska must have a main distributing point, then the natural advantages and railroad facilities make Fairbury that point.

In an article of this kind it ould be out of place to enumerate the different firms represented-the city directory is the place for that. Yet, as indicative of hwat there is here, the following may be noted: Four banks, combined capital $300,000, four lumber yards, five hotels, four newspapers, one a daily; two nurseries, one of which is the largest west of the Mississippi river, paying in the busy season $200 per day ofr help, the sales for last fall and this spring combined being one hundred car loads, aggregating about $20,000; two steam grain elevators, capacity 50,000 bushels; one foundry-very large-with machinery for nearly all kinds of work, including the casting of store fronts; one brick factory, new process, capacity of 500,000 per month. More might be said but it is perhaps best to leave something to the imagination-something for those seeking good business locations to find out for themselves, and in this city they will not be disappointed.


Unlimited water power. Only $99,850 invested in factories yet. This but the nest egg-the brood to come soon-only a matter of a few years until Fairbury will be a large manufacturing city. The manufacturing facilities of this city are as yet but little utilized. In 1886 there was an investment of only $99,850, paying in wages $39,285, and giving a product worth $227,100.00. Still this is a satifactory beginning, considering the tender years of the city. The water power of the city is furnished by the Little Blue river. This river averages over eighty feet in width and has a fall of between seven and eight feet to the mile. The bottom and banks are of a hard stony composition. The channel looks like that of a great stream. In fact geologists are pretty generally agreed that at one time this was the main course of the Platte. There is but one dam in the river and but one whell in that, though the flume is so constructed as to admit of other wheels. The city covers 800 acres along this steam and there might be no less than a dozen dams within the present city limits.

Agricultural implements could be very profitably manufactured here, first, because of the cheap power afforded.

Second, because of the great tributary of tilled land, and the railroad facilities for reaching the same.

Third, because the raw materail can be shipped in at a low rate and one car of the raw material will make from three to five cars of manufactured articles which are now shipped in from great distances east.

Fairbury offers special advantages for a woolen mill, because the power is cheap and the wool is grown right here in abundance. Nineteen cars of wool were shipped form this place alone last year.

The citizens claim that it is but a matter of time when the city must have not only those, but a steam bakery, paper mills, canning factory, packing house, linseed oil mill and such other factories as thse would naturally bring with them. Persons having capital to invest in manufacturing plants will find it to their interest to come to Fairbury and see for themselves. Correspondence solicited and always cheerfully and promptly answered. Parties with good references coming here will be royally entertained and shown the city free of cost to them.


Fairbury, in common with most western cities, points with pride to her schools and churches.

The St. Joseph Herald's issue of April 21, 1887, speaks of Fairbury city schools as follows:

There is no better criterion of the culture or moral statue of a community than the condition of its school system, and one of the first questions asked by those looking for homes in the west is in regard to the public schools. The school census of April, 1887, which has just been compiled by the able and careful census taker, H.M. Ryburn, shows that there are 678 children in Fairbury between the ages of five and twenty-one, an increase of 147 over the census of 1886. Taking this as a basis, allowing six persons for each child of school age would make the present population of Fairbury 4,068.

To accommodate these pupils the city has erected a high school building and one ward school building, both edifices being of brick, heated by steam and supplied with furniture and necessary equipments that are essential in placing the schools on a par with those of any city in the country. An able corps of teachers employed in each department and in every respect the public schools of the city are institutions of which every citizen is proud.

The board of education is arranging the curriculum so that pupils graduating from the city schools pass direct to the university.

The religious life of the icty is watched over by five churches. The Baptist and Christian churches have been recently enlarged and other wise greatly improved. The Methodist Episcopal church is th efinest structure of the kind in the city. It was completed January 1, 1887. It is heated by hot air, seated with opera chairs-hot air and opera chairs make a good Methodist combination.


There ar numerous societies, among them the W.C.T.U., I.O.G.T., Ruscue club, Band of Hope, Y.W.C.T.U. Most of these meet in Red Ribbon hall, a large building owned by a temperance society of that name. The secret societies are represented by the Knights of Pythias, Odd Fellows, Masons, A.O.U.W. and G.A.R.

Jefferson County Agricultural society is a very useful and wealthy society. J.B. McDowell president. The society has forty acres adjoining the icty on the west. This property is well improved for its purpose-in fact it is the best in the state.


The city has the hardest working board of trade in Nebraska. It is well organized, full of life and daring and always ready for business. To the board must be accredited in a very large degree much of our present prosperity. The Rock Island might have come here, might have made this their headquarters for Nebraska. The Kansas City & Omaha might also have come here and made this their division station without the influence of the board of trade, but that such is the fact but few citizens are ready to admit.

Any one wishing to learn anything of this city from good authority and without unnecessary delay, can do so by addressing the secretary, W.W. Watson, or the president, Geo. E. Genkins.

A loan and building association was organized in April, 1886, with a capital of $200,000. Through this association no man is too poor to have a home of his own. Well do the citizens understand this, for small houses as well as large ones are going up on all sides. Pat, describing the sickly climate said: "Men are dying now that never died before." Men are getting homes now who never got homes before. A good thing for the rich, a good investment for the poor.

The future of the city looks very promising. Every day brings new investments and more strangers. Large investments in real estae have been made by men connected with the new railroad-by men that know what they are about. Yet property is comparatively low here. The inquiry and movement in real estate is therefore exceedingly good. Men can afford to buy, for property is not held as in many smaller but less wise cities, too high to be used for business purposes. Strangers as well as citizens are buying rapidly at fair prices. The writer has just returned from a ride though the principal part of the city. He counted ninety-eight dwellings in course of construcion-this does not include the business houses remember, only entire new dwellings.

The truth is, houses cannot be built fast enough. The writer found seven families living in tents. Houses cannot be had. And this, too, when many of the citizens, as well as men that came for the purpose, are building house after house to rent. Nearly all are occupied before completed outside.

Among the business houses the one by Col. Harbine deserves special mention. It is under the supervision of W.A. Powell, architect, St. Joseph, Mo., and is in every respect the finest building ever erected in this city.


Jefferson county, of which Fairbury is the county seat, is a rich and well watered section of 268,610 acres, the fourth county west from the Missouri river. The Little Blue river traverses the county from northwest to southeast. Well do Bayard Taylor's words describe this county. He says, "The country is one of the most beautiful I ever looked upon. I am more than ever struck with the great difference between this region and that east of the Mississippi. There is none of the weary monotony of the prairies as in Illinois, or swamp tracts as in Indiana. The wide billowy green, dotted all over with golden lands of harvest, the hollows of dark, glittering maize, the park like clumps of timber along the course of the streams, these were the materials which went to the making up of every landscape and of which in their sweet, harmonious, pastoral beauty the eye never grows weary."

The county is specially noted for the production of fine fruit of all kinds grown in this latitude. At the state fair, as some readers of The JOURNAL well remember, Jefferson county carried the first premium on fruit as well as on stock.

The great seed houses of the east gather the bulk of their seeds here, then ship them east in car lots. There the seeds are tastily put in small packages and shipped all over the west to be sold at high prices. Now why not have the seed house here. This is what is needed and the formation of a company for this purpose is now under way.

A canning factory is just as badly needed to save the small fruits. This is known and felt, though as yet, there has been no very public efforts made to start such a company.

Early gardening is another branch that would pay well here. Thousands of dollars are sent south every spring for lettuce, radishes, asparagus, strawberries, etc., all of which could be well and easily produced in abundance near this "fairest city of the plain."

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