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Nebraska...Our Towns

The Duff Grain Company and Elevator along the railroad track in Upland was a primary business in the community. The building at the front advertises Fairbanks Standard Scales.
The lagoo that formed in the middle of the main street when the rains came...
Upland, main street looking north (above).
Our town today looking south (below).


Upland, located in northern Franklin County between Campbell and Hildreth, is higher in elevation than either town, hence its name "Upland." In 1894 it was the last village in the county to be formally incorporated.

Previous to Upland's founding, there were several attempts to "make a town" in the area. Most notably was H.O. Hendrick's attempt to establish a town called "Orange" a few miles east of Upland.

The town site was acquired from the Lincoln Land Company in 1886. The following year post office from near-by moved to the new site and adopted the name "Upland." A very modern post office, dedicated in 1965, now serves our community.

Upland was settled largely by Germans, Danes, Swedes, and a few French. The village grew rapidly as European immigrants settled among their own ethnic groups. The population reached some 500 people in the 1912, with a present population of about 200.

In the early days, the town site lay in a lagoon bed. Often large flocks of water fowl, migrating to and from their nesting grounds, "settled down" and provided great sport for the residents.

Churches hold a prominent place in Upland's history. At one time there were Congregational, United Brethern, Pilgrim Holiness, Methodist, and Lutheran congregations. Presently, the Lutheran and Methodist churches serve the community.

A cemetery was established in late 1889. Cemetary records have recently been compiled and a shelter for this directory was constructed in 1983.

A dugout school, located about a mile east of the town, was in operation when the railroad was built. Soon after that, a schoolhouse was built in town which served the community until 1914 when a new brick school was built. Since then Upland school has merged with the Minden school district.

A blacksmith shop, well drillers, and implement dealers were the earliest businesses. In addition to the usual stores, saloons and banks, Upland had a thriving stockyards. News was printed in the "Upland Eagle" from the late 1800s until it was purchased by the "Franklin County Sentinel" in 1940.

Windmills provided water for the townspeople until an underground cistern was dug and a large tank installed in the building that houses the pump, local jail, and city hall. There is now a standpipe for city water, and a state-approved sewer system.

The land company donated several lots for the city park named for its caretaker, Jens Iversen. During the "dry thirties" the trees all died out, so it was made into a ball park. Later a community park was established on Main Street. The original jail has been restored and is now situated in a mini-park on the west side of Main.

When cars became the mode of travel, the old hitching posts in town were removed. Streets were first graveled, then hard surfaced. Street lights first turned on in Upland in 1918. In 1948 the switch was thrown to bring R.E.A. power to the community and the surrounding area.

Many doctors and a few dentists have taken care of our citizens over the years. We now have good ambulance service in connection with the volunteer fire department, with trained personnel to administer first aid.

Our town lost population during the Depression years when people left the community in search of work. In those years, the Gilgen brothers put an irrigation well on their farm east of town, which created much interest. Many farmers followed suit, so their farms were no longer completely dependent on rainfall for crops. Irrigation now plays a very important role in agriculture.

Through the years an annual Corn Show, May Day, and a community Christmas tree topped the list of events. Social events currently center around the churches, clubs, lodge, and the American Legion Post and auxiliary. The annual alumni banquet held during the Memorial Day weekend is presently the "big event." Many graduates of Upland High School from far and near return to the community and enjoy the fellowship with former classmates and reminiscing about "the good old days."

Compiled by the Bicentennial Historical Committee: Karla Meiner, Ruby Raber, Dora Gramke, Margaret Ackerman, and Donna Belle Dallman.


ADDITIONAL MATERIAL: Upland History available at Franklin County Library, State Historical Society, and Minden Public Schools; "Complete Cemetery Records of Upland" with genealogical information available at Village office, and Upland Bank; Cemetery Directory at NSHS and Franklin County Historical Society.