NEGenweb Project
Merrick County
On Line Resources

Merrick County's 100th Year: 1858-1958

 

Archer

In 1886, Cyrus D. Chapman, who homesteaded the NW 1/4 of section 28-14-7, wrote to the Burlington officials urging the feasibility of a railroad line out in the direction of his farm. Mr. Chapman, a dynamic character, furnished the spark which set things rolling. The following year surveyors were on the grounds marking out the line and determining the sites for towns along the way. Mr. Chapman gave a full month of his time helping the men and no doubt influencing a decision in favor of some of his land as a site for the first town out of Central City. On May 25, 1887, the Lincoln Land Company, cooperating apparently with the Burlington, purchased from E. H. Whickam and Mary Chapman (wife of C. N.) the land now occupied by the village of Archer.

Some heat was engendered in naming the new town. Mr. Whickam wanted it to bear his name and since there already was one Chapman in the county, Mr. Chapman was determined to call it Cyrus, A compromise was reached by naming it for Mr. Archer, a man prominent at that time in B. & M. circles. Cyrus D. Chapman, who had so much to do with the founding of Archer, was a tall, forcefully built man and happiest when in the role of leader. It is fairly safe to say that except for C. D. Chapman there would be no Archer and the town, whatever its name, would be differently located.

That fall, E. Hansen, who was operating a country store at Adams Center, two-miles southwest of the proposed town, moved his building to a site where it still stands although not occupied at the present time. Later Mr. Hansen, engaged in partnership with J. B. Templin, operated a creamery as well as his mercantile business. The old Hansen store, now deserted, has housed numerous businesses including E. Hansen, Hansen and Templin, Riggs and Wegner, Graham and Mendenhall, Warren Riggs, and P. C. Woodward.

In the spring of 1888, Mr. Chapman erected a store building, 16x32 feet, just across the street north from Mr. Hansen's store. He also, in partnership with M. H. Rawlings, established a lumber yard at the rear of his store. The Chapman store was burned and then replaced with a larger building. It was occupied later by the following merchants: H. Gurney, Schroeder and Wagner, Wegner and Bonness, Bonness and Dipple, Paul Bonness and at present by Bonness Brothers (Harvey and Elmer). The Bonness family has been in the store since 1900.

The Central Grain Company built the first elevator, which after passing through many different ownerships, was removed to give way for the present structure owned for many years by T. B. Hord Company and now by Farmers Co-op Grain and Coal Co.

In 1890, came C. E. Barnett, a young physician, asking for a place to office. Later came Dr. Benton, Adams, Paxton, Pitts, Briggs and Mitz.

The first and only hotel was kept by Chris and Elizabeth Frank. For a while a drug store was operated by Minor Whaley. Starting with Chris Hostetter our bankers have been Joe Hayes, Wm. O'Connor, George Lehr, W. P. Hansen and W. W. McBride. There have been nine postmasters as follows: A. Talkington, George Kull, H. Gurney, Joe Cagel, W. Riggs, P. C. Woodward and W. P. Hansen. The first rural mail carrier was Deacon Gardner, followed by Buren Wells. At an early date, S. D. Ayers established lumber and coal yards which were operated successively by R. Brannan, George Ayers and George Eckhoff, who was also part owner.

Burlington agents included the following: A. Talkington, J. Kamerer, Max Burns, L. K. James, Joe Cogil, D. Brandt, Speed Smith, Ed Wiser, F. Yates and T. Shirley.

Archer came into prominence as a shipping center in the early days surpassing all other towns in the county in the output of hay. A great deal of grain and an annual shipment of 100 cars of livestock gave a great deal of business to the village of Archer. In 1895, Archer had a population of 125. Since its origin in 1887, the town has attracted many business enterprises which presently have moved on in quest of greener pastures. Other present day businesses besides those mentioned before are Miller's Archer Oil Co., C. Banish Garage, Locker Plant and Tschudy and Ita Implement and Repair Shop.


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Photograph


Early Archer. Street Scenes


EAST SIDE OF MAIN STREET

Photograph

Photograph

FLOOD SCENE--1905


GUESS WHO?

Compliments
of
BUCKEYE
MFG.& SALES CO.
Central City

Compliments
of
HESTEDS STORES
Central City,
Nebraska

Compliments
of
ALMA
OIL CO.

Compliments
of
LaFAYETTE
BEAUTY
SALON

Photograph

ARCHER M. E. CHURCH
Photograph

FLOOD 1905

JULIUS ZAMZOW AND HIS BLACKSMITH SHOP

 

STANDING: (Left to Right) Ella Wegner Riggs, Hulda Zamzow Schmaltz, William Martin, Charles Wolf. SEATED: George Lehr and Leon McKendry.

Photograph
Photograph

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