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Nebraska...Our Towns

Concord

Dixon County

Concord, a railroad town on the branch line (CStPM&ORR) from Emerson to Crofton is located in the lower one-third of Dixon County. Its newspaper was called "Concord Blizzard" a prophetic title, perhaps. Pictured is a railroad crew "bucking snow" on the line between Emerson and Concord, 1908. [Nebraska State Historical Society]
Looking back. [Harris]

"Never say die" is true of this peaceful village, 35 miles west of Sioux City. Platted in 1883 and incorporated in 1902, its earliest beginnings are veiled in obscurity. The earliest settlers arrived around the year 1858, with a post office established in 1859, however, its name is not known. George Acres built the first house with wood ferried across the Missouri River at Sioux City. Ten families are said to have lived in the area in 1878.

By 1882 the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railroad was building a branch line from Emerson to Crofton and needed a station at this location. Mrs.Hugitt, the company president's wife, suggested naming the new town "Concord" for the famous bridge in Massachusetts. The name actually means "peaceful." The Concordia Lutheran Church was organized in the depot in 1885.

A bank was organized in 1890 with James Paul as president, and Acres, cashier. It was about this time that the city jail was built and a newspaper called "Concord Blizzard" was published. C.E.Clark opened a general store, and a second bank was also built.

A private telephone company was organized in 1902 with Gus Peterson as manager. E.J. Hughes managed it from 1912 until the dial system was installed in 1957.

Jimmy Olson operated Concord's light plant for years. Just before ten o'clock, he would blink the lights twice, warning people that the power would soon go off.

Until 1930 the only water system was a town pump on main street, with its tin cup for the thirsty passersby. It was the source for several bucket brigades during major fires which destroyed the Farmers Union store and many wooden shops. Most were replaced by brick buildings.

Early in the 1900s a baseball team was organized. As a town team, it vied with the surrounding communities most Sunday afternoons. Cal Hogle and Don Clark were two of the mainstays.

Isaac Branaman, who was blind, organized the Concord Owl Band that played at weekly concerts in a bandstand built around a flagpole in the center of the street. In 1929 after a seven-year-old girl was run over and killed on the crowded street during a concert, the citizens decided to build a proper and safe band shell. This was also the site for weekly free movies for many years.

A 10-grade school served the community in a frame building with a large school bell outside. In 1930 a brick building was completed for a K-12 system. The last class graduated in 1958. Thereafter, Concord became part of the Laurel school system.

The Dixon County Fair, now primarily a 4-H venture, was first held in 1913 at the edge of Concord.

For many years Gurney-Hesperian nurseries owned 30 acres three miles from Concord. This provided employment, as well as trees, plants, and garden supplies. In 1955 a University of Nebraska Experiment Station was developed on 320 acres of land donated by C.D. Haskell. Its many activities have been a great boon to the community.

In its hey-day, 1930, Concord's population was 263. The development of excellent roads contributed to the shift in population to larger cities. The majority of the 150 people currently living here are retired or commute to jobs in the area, some 40 miles away, so the town is a little less busy. Fewer young families resulted in a drop in school enrollment, and its subsequent loss. During the farm economic crisis in the 1980s, we also lost our banking facilities.

A nice playground and shelter house were built in the city park in 1989. Life and property are protected by an active volunteer fire department manned by farmers and townspeople alike.

Although the town is small, the Swedish, German, and Irish heritage of its residents shows though its well-kept yards and homes. Modern satellite dishes help to keep us aware of the many concerns facing the world.

We try hard to prepare the next generation for the task ahead, and yet instill "deep roots" to remind them of this peaceful, small town called Concord.

From material sent by Marlys McGarth Rice, Rtwe 1 Box 37, Concord, NE 68728.

 

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL: "Concord...Our Little Town," 1976, Rice; and the story of Concord in Dixon County History , 1982.