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Merrick County
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Merrick County's 100th Year: 1858-1958

 

Central City

A building erected by the Western Stage Company in 1858, was the first which was raised on the soil of the present Merrick County. It was the beginning of "Lone Tree Station." Up to 1869, however, "Lone Tree Station" was not the official town of the early settlers.

The first post office was at Shoemaker's point near Chapman. In 1864, this was abandoned for one established at Brewer's ranch. In 1869, this Post Office was moved to "Lone Tree Station" which was situated on the present site of Central City with Ed. Parker as postmaster. This marked the real beginning of Lone Tree.

The first building in Lone Tree aside from the depot was erected by J. H. Berryman in the fall of 1868. In this combined store and residence was held the first session of district court, in charge of Judge Crounce.

The next business house was erected by Traver and May.

The little town grew and by 1875, when the name was changed to Central City, there was a population of between 1000 and 1200. Through the years, the town continued to grow, leading all other Merrick County towns in size. The growth was slow until about 1883; when there was a building boom that saw business and population grow rapidly.

Merrick County's first newspaper appeared at Lone Tree on March 21, 1872, and was called the "Merrick County News" and edited by Henry Kelsey.

In this first Merrick County newspaper were the following advertisements:

      
John Foulks . . . . . . . . . . . .  Boot and Shoe Maker
Nelson Barnes . . . . . . . . . . Contractor and Builder
W. A. Porter and Son . . . . . . . . . . .  Wagon Makers
Jesse Turner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Attorney-At-Law
M. L. Wright . . . . . . . . . . . "Headquarters Saloon"
H. N. Bryant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Bryant's Hotel
Sparks and Ewing . . . . . . . . . . . .Attorneys-At-Law
Wm. McEndree . . . . . . . . . . . . General Merchandise
J. B. Adams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Land Agent
Baker and Root . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Druggists
Moore and May . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Farm Implements
H. W. Pearsons . . . . . . . . . . . General Merchandise
Traver and May . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . .Lumber Yard
J. H. Berryman and Bro . . . . . . . General Merchandise

Among the local items it was reported that "some fifty-families have arrived during the week and located on their homesteads, and that W. A. Comstock shipped several carloads of grain westward during the week, and 'with good results.'"

Market quotations at Omaha in 1872 included: Flour, per sack $4.00 to $5.00; Wheat 75¢ to $1.10 per bu.; Corn 21¢ to 27¢; Butter per lb. 20¢ to 22¢; Potatoes, per bu. 30¢.

Less than a year after the establishment of the News, political complications (which was a usual cause in those days) produced another newspaper, the "Lone Tree Sentinel." Col. W. H. Webster and George A. Percival were the editors. The Sentinel was started as a "railroad paper," to advocate the Midland Pacific Railroad bonds, to which the News was opposed. In April, 1874, the Merrick County News, under new management, was changed to the Lone Tree Courier. After a number of changes in publishers the Courier was discontinued in 1894.

Other early newspapers were the Merrick County Item in 1880 and discontinued in 1881. In 1882 the Central City Nonpareil made its appearance, and in 1888 the Merrick County Republican came into existence, published by W. P. Watson, until in 1893, it was changed to the Central City Democrat, with Geo. Wells as editor. In 1891, the Independent Press, backing the Populist cause, was started and continued for a number of years.

Central City in 1958 is a busy, flourishing town of some 2400 people. Nestled in the midst of the rich Platte Valley, it looks forward eagerly to the next 100 years.

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Central City

Through

The Years

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     Oldest Business Building, razed in 1957

CENTRAL CITY'S
OLDEST BUSINESS BUILDING
"The J. H. Berryman Building"

Lone Tree Lodge No. 36 A. F. & A. M. rented the south half of the upstairs of this building in 1871 and held their meetings there until 1882 when they rented the whole upstairs. They purchased the building in 1929 and continued to meet there until the spring of 1957 when the building was razed and the new Masonic Temple was erected on the site. Since 1871 Lone Tree Lodge has known no other home.

Following is a list of the original and present Master and Wardens:

  Original                        Present
             Worshipful Master 
  Leland O. Doolittle         T. Leo Stines
              Senior Warden 
  David Thomas            C. Agnar Anderson
              Junior Warden
  Joseph B. Adams           Floyd M. Gorgen
         
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Band Shell in North Park, Central. City
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The New Masonic Hall



Compliments of
LARSEN CHEVROLET CO.
Central City and Fullerton





Compliments of
NIELSEN RADIO-TV
Central City

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© 2001 for the NEGenWeb Project by Mary Alice Vampola, Ted & Carole Miller