The following descriptions appeared in the Sunday June 5, 1887 Nebraska State Journal. This was an "immigrant issue" intended to provide the towns of Nebraska with an opportunity to attract new residents.
Situated in Keith County - - On the Union Pacific Railroad - - Two Hundred and Eight-three Miles From Lincoln - - Population Eight Hundred.
Ogalalla is located 342 miles west of Omaha on the main line of the Union Pacific railroad. Its present population is 800, the large majority of which are young married people from the eastern portions of Nebraska, Iowa and other states. The town contains two substantial church edifices of the Congregational and Catholic denominations, with another, the Methodist Episcopal. In course of construction, a public school plan with 55 scholars on the lists. The town polls about 175 votes at village elections. A grist mill has recently been completed with a capacity of seventy-five barrels per day, the machinery of which is all of the latest, improved roller mill style. The mill is owned by the Ogalalla Milling company, composed wholly of home capitalists. Two stores carry a general stock of merchandise, aggregating seventy thousand dollars worth of dry goods, groceries, hardware, farm implements, etc.
Besides these stores the village is supplied with five other grocery stores which carry an average of $3,000 stocks, also two hardware stores, two magnificent furniture stores, each carrying about $4,000 worth of furniture. There are four livery stables one 60 x 125 feet and the others 40 x 125. They buy and sell horses and keep on hand about ten rig's each. There are six hotels, the largest being capable of accommodating one hundred people; two of the others about fifty each. Three lumber yards supply about $200 worth of lumber per day each to the people of Keith county. Lumber varies in price from $26 to $45 per thousand according to the quality. Ten lawyers find picking here besides the same number of notaries, nearly all of whom are engaged in the real estate business to a greater or less extent. Three sets of abstract books are owned in the village to keep the records of Keith county lands and lots straight.
Three blacksmiths drive a brisk business. One shoe shop, one tailoring establishment, where three journeymen are employed to make up goods for home consumption, are also located here.
Two first class meat markets slaughter about ten beeves per week besides large numbers of sheep and hogs, and the usual number of chickens, game and fish are disposed of. A baker turning out 200 loaves a day, a tobacco and cigar store, three first class drug stores, carrying stocks ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 are also flourishing evidences of prosperity.
Ogalalla has reason to be proud of her newspapers, of which no town in the state can equal of her size. They are the Keith county News and the Ogalalla Reflector. The News has recently purchased a brand new country Campbell power press with all the latest improvements, also an engine of five horse power to propel this machinery of the office.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Good Templars, Free Masons and Ancient Order of United Workmen have flourishing lodges here and meet every week. The Union Pacific collected about $300,000 from freight, passenger and other business at this point during the past year. The county is fast settling and land in the vicinity is cheap. The banks of Ogalalla have $100,000 capital each, and the total profits last year were about $25,000.