This special edition was intended to PROMOTE Nebraska as a state and provide the towns with an opportunity to advertise their status and attract new residents.
Columbus, at the junction of the Union Pacific,
Lincoln & Northwestern (now a part of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy
system), and Republican Valley railway. with the Norfolk, Albion,
Fullerton and Cedar Rapids branches, radiating north, northwest and
west, with its other prospective lines now being surveyed, bids fair
in the very near future of being a railroad center of considerable importance.
While other portions of the state have been receiving a heavy influx of
immigration and capital, caused by liberal advertising, Columbus has been growing
surely and steadily, as her new and substantial brick business houses and the many
fine and comfortable residences and cottages of its citizens readily attest.
While her citizens have extended a liberal greeting to every legitimate enterprise
and improvement, no effort has been made to boom her central location and the
immense area of country naturally tributary thereto, into special prominence as
a commercial point. Simple facts readily establish her claims to geographical
location and facilities for transportation, for a manufacturing and commercial
center that is unrivaled.
The receipts by rail during the same period have been:
The business men of this city are wide awake, enterprising and progressive. Their stores, well stocked with goods, attest to the great prosperity enjoyed by them. The different lines represented are dry goods 4, groceries 11, hardware 4, clothing 6, drugs 4, boots and shoes 4, harness and saddlery 2, music 2, watches and jewelry 2, books and news 2, hotels 7, lumber yards 3, coal yards 3, general merchandise 3, furniture 3, bakeries 3, agricultural implements 4, and several other industries. The business houses are mostly substantial brick structures and the energetic business men of the city have striven to advance the best interest of the city and surrounding country. It has not been all talk, but earnest and hard work and at all times in matters of public interest, where beneficial results are to be obtained by the community, they always reach down into their pockets to assist. To their credit it may be said that they have advanced the agricultural interests in this vicinity to a great extent by being always ready to pay the full market price in cash for produce.
In manufacturing industries attesting to the city’s solidity and progress we have two roller flouring mills, two packing houses, one foundry, one furniture factory, mineral and soda bottling works, a creamery, wagon factory, broom factory, wire fence works, a brewery and cigar factory, besides several smaller miscellaneous enterprises that time will yet develop into importance. The two flouring mills, the Columbus Milling company and the elevator mills, have each a capacity of one hundred and twenty-five barrels per diem, and supply not only the local trade of the state, but ship largely west and south and export as well, and as a tribute to the quality of flour produced here, it is sufficient to state that the demand is greater than the capacity of the mills, and that at Glasgow, Scotland, two car loads of the elevator mills’ flour sold for 31 cents per barrel more than Pillsbury’s Best on the same market.
The mineral water and soda bottling works of Charles Segelke done a business last year of $20,000, and the new improvements this season of a three story brick, 30x40 feet, with new machinery, has been added at an expense of $10,000. Not only the city but surrounding towns are supplied from these works.
The two packing houses of the Columbus Packing company and Fred Elias are industries of leading importance and through them the farmers of the surrounding country, including several adjoining counties, find a ready market for their hogs at good prices, while the product of these establishments finds a ready market east and south.
The Columbus foundry is one of the pioneer establishments of the city, and that its business has increased from an humble beginning to a volume of $40,000 for the past year, is proof positive of a lucrative and thriving plant.
The financial interest of the city and vicinity are sufficiently illustrated in the fact of its powering three banking institutions representing employed capital of $300,000, with the low estimated personal resources of $1,800,000 of the several stockholders to back up their respective corporations.
The Columbus State bank, established in 1871, is one of the oldest banking institutions in central Nebraska, and its board of directors, Leander Gerrard, Robert H. Henry, George W. Hulst, Julius A. Reed and Joe E. Tasker are well and widely known as capitalists and financiers, and to the personal care, prudence and foresight of these gentlemen is due the honestly earned and well merited reputation now attained by their corporation.
The First National bank of this city is one of the solid institutions of this great and growing state, that has much to do with its financial importance and rapidly increasing prosperity. It is doubted if any banking institution in the west, outside of the great moneyed centers, can boast of a greater aggregated capital personally represented by its stockholders than this bank. The gentlemen financially back of this institution are A. Anderson, O. T. Roen, J. J. Becker, Herman Oelhrich, W. A. McAlbster, Jonas Welch, Robert Uhlig, John W. Early, Carl Reinke, G. Anderson of Wisconsin, P. Anderson of Colorado and Gerhard Schutte of California, all well and favorably known in financial circles of the west. The business of this institution for the past year above a marvelous increase that is creditable to the discernment of its patrons and gratifying to its stockholders.
The Columbus Savings Bank, Loan and Trust company is well worthy of special mention, as the savings department is beneficial to every industrious and frugal person that wishes to save and deposit with safety a part of their income and at the same time realize a fair rate of interest. The officers and stockholders of this institution are among our most prominent and solid citizens and are highly respected for their moral and financial worth. That most of them are stockholders in the First National bank, the parent of the organization, is abundant proof of their reliability. This company also makes a specialty of loans on real estate security and the first mortgages negotiated by them are as safe as United States bonds and the increasing demand for them for investment by eastern capitalists is the best evidence of their intrinsic worth.
Among other financial institutions that have gained enviable and well deserved reputations for honesty, reliability and punctuality are the loan agencies and mortgage brokerage firms of Gus G. Becher & Co., McKinley & Carnahan, Speice & North and P.W. Henrich. Investors purchasing securities negotiated by them may feel as safe as if they had personally inspected the collateral.
The Columbus Land, Loan and Building association was organized a little more than a year ago and at the annual meeting of the society in May a dividend of 20 per cent was declared on the stock.
The leading real estate dealer in Columbus is L. W. Weaver. A thorough acquaintance with every lot in the city and every piece of land in the county renders his services indispensable to the prospective purchaser. He has a large list of valuable city and county property at his disposal, at reasonable prices, and no more favorable opportunity for investing in real estate in this vicinity has ever been offered than at the present time.
The citizens of this city pride themselves on the high standing and excellence of their
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public schools, which are not excelled by any in the state. The several
well constructed and commodious school buildings testify to the interest
taken by the people in that which is dear to every citizen’s heart, the
education of his children. Three ample brick buildings of modern construction
and design are located at convenient points of access, and the
teachers are employed at salaries which are an inducement to the
ablest of instructors.
St. Francis academy, also located in this city, offers the best advantages for an education in the higher branches. This institution is under the protection of the Catholic denomination but is non-sectarian in its teachings with pupils of other faith. At present there are 130 students in attendance, fifty of whom are boarders. Twelve sisters and two postulants comprise the present faculty. Latin, French, German, Spanish and vocal and instrumental music are taught. The successful inauguration of this institution of learning is a valuable adjunct to the educational features of Columbus. Fourteen thousand dollars is invested in this building and valuable improvements will be added this season to meet the increased demand of its patrons. Adjoining and quite near the academy is the monestery and church erected at a cost of $16,000, while a little farther on is St. Mary’s hospital, upon which $12,000 has already been expended. This society owns four acres of land upon which these buildings are situated, and the grounds have been beautified with ornamental trees, shrubbery and trailing vines, while through the rich foliage is seen the brilliant blossoms of the oleander, and the perfume of roses and jasmine impregnates the air of the little domain presided over by these self sacrificing, humanity loving, God fearing people.
In keeping with all well regulated, enterprising western cities, Columbus has her full quota of churches. Every Christian denomination has its place of worship, many of which are a credit to the city in an architectural sense, and the pastors are men of ability who have the interest of their congregations at heart.
The Salvation Army has established a post at this point and secured commodious quarters for the ensuing year, and are holding their daily parades and nightly meetings, according to the peculiar belief of their eternal fitness of things.
In the way of hotels the Clother house and the Grand Pacific hotel are models of beauty and neatness, both exterior and interior, and the wayfaring man is abundantly provided for at reasonable rates.
In the way of societies the Masons, Odd Fellows, Royal Arcanum and Modern Woodmen have each stated meetings and a large membership.
The "Journal", "Democrat" and "Wochenblatt" (the last named published in German) weekly newspapers furnish the moral and political news for citizens of the city and surrounding country. The two first named, stand at the head of the weekly press of the state, and have done much for the upbuilding of the city of their home. Unlike many localities, their efforts have been duly appreciated by the live, progressive and liberal people of this enterprising city. The idea that the press is a general public free excursion outfit is not tolerated in our community.
The pride that the people of this city take in blooded horses, was the incentive to the construction of a race track and the organization of the Columbus Driving Park and Fair association, and the purchase by that corporation of forty acres of land adjoining the city limits.
The track is one of the finest in the state. The course is a full half mile, and the grounds are provided with a pavilion grand, music and judge’s stand. The annual races held here attract racing stock from all portions of the west.
The Columbus creamery is one of the most profitable and best paying investment for the stockholders, and farmers of surrounding country, of all our manufacturing enterprises.
One thousand pounds of butter per diem is now turned out and the capacity of the plant will be more than doubled before another season.
New water works were erected in the city the past year, and several miles of mains laid, covering the business area and principal residence streets. An abundant supply of pure water is furnished. As it is run upon the pressure principle no fire engines are needed. Hydrants are placed where required and every precaution taken against fire.
All the principal streets are lighted by the Brush(?) electric system, and on June 1 an incandescent plant will be in operation, furnishing light for private residences.
The Columbus Lake and Park Association have already expended about $10,000 in beautifying and improving what will be, when fully completed, one of the most beautiful pleasure resorts and most valuable fishery plants in the state. Situated on a high plateau only a short distance from the business center and overlooking the city and surrounding country, its natural advantages, combined with the pluck, skill and unlimited capital of its projectors, insures to the city the benefits derived from recreation, where the grandeur of nature has for once been improved by the art of man.
A street car and motor railway company has been incorporated, the organization including many of the prominent capitalists of the city. It is expected that before autumn the lines will be in operation through many of our principal streets. The company also propose building motor lines from Columbus to the adjacent towns in Platte, Colfax, Butler and Polk counties.
The Union Pacific railway company have made many valuable improvements in the past year. A new depot at a cost of $20,000, a new coal chute for nearly as much more, with the purchase of additional land for yard and side tracks, made a permanent investment of nearly $100,000.
The C. B. & Q. railway company, which gives the city through connection to Chicago without change, have had a gratifying increase of business at this point the past season. A large proportion of the east bound grain, hay and flour shipments have been awarded this line, while they have held a full share of the commercial and emigrant trade into the city. A new round house and machine shop will be built by this company the present summer.
The Republican Valley railroad with its branches to Norfolk, Albion, Fullerton and Cedar Rapids is the great artery of traffic through the splendid country traversed by its lines. Before autumn closes, this company will control the line from Norfolk to Sioux City and Columbus will reap the benefits of new machine shops and general headquarters of this line. Columbus is largely indebted for her present prosperity to the several railway lines within her borders. The advantages of transportation facilities alone is sufficient to insure the growth of a large and prosperous city.
And now, what are the prospects and probabilities in the future of Columbus? Without overdrawing or under estimating, but taking a business view of the situation, the outlook is promising and all that could be desired. The citizens are social, intelligent, wide awake, liberal, progressive and prosperous. New comers are warmly welcomed, liberal inducements are offered for the establishment of manufacturies. A paper mill, a starch factory, a tannery, and an oatmeal mill can find no better location in the whole west. An investigation will substantiate the claims here set forth. Letters of inquiry will be cheerfully answered by any businessman in the city.