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Nebraska...Our Towns

Wymore -- Gage County

A 1910 greetings card from Wymore, Nebraska, at train time. [Danforth]
The Wymore business district, looking south. Our town has 17 blocks of original brick "cobble stone" streets laid in the early 1920s.

Samuel Wymore left a substantial legacy for the people of the town he founded. It was primarily through his generous donation of land that the officials of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad were persuaded to build its division station here. He also gave a full block of the original town site on which to build a school, and provided a number of lots for churches and other public institutions. With the money made from the sale of lots, he provided the town with many of the early buildings, which included the Touzalin Hotel, Blue Valley Bank, and the Wymore Building & Loan. "Sam Wymore Days," celebrated each June, is to honor the contribution he made to the town.

The name "Wymore" is unique, and we are proud to be the only Wymore in the U.S.A. When it was platted in 1881 by the Lincoln Land Company, there was no problem in getting the name approved by postal authorities! It is said that two full blocks of businesses sprang up in just 16 days. There was a fierce rivalry between this "new town" and the established town of Blue Springs, only a few miles away. They have both survived as independent communities.

The first churches were the Catholic and the Episcopal, both built in 1881. During the next ten years, another ten churches were established.

The community prospered as a railroad town until after World War II. Then other forms of transportation -- the cars, trucks, and airplanes -- came into prominence, and the need for this railroad repair shop came to an end. The old Wymore turntable was moved to the Stuhr Museum near Grand Island.

Despite efforts to save the depot, it was intentionally burned down in 1984. Saddened by its loss, Wymore residents applied for and received a grant to erect a small replica of a depot for a museum. Using both local volunteers and students from the high school building class, the project took five years to complete. In 1990 "Burlington Park" was donated to the city by the community improvement group.

The Touzalin Hotel, named for an early-day railroad official, was rated the "best in the state" in its day. Several hotels and the opera house were supplied with steam heat by means of an underground tunnel from one building to another in the block. The tunnels are no longer accessible as the old buildings have been razed and newer ones built in their places.

In 1882 Jacob Taylor built a home near the depot where the railroad superintendents resided. Subsequent superintendents, including Touzalin, owned the house. Recently Rick and Margaret Dunn purchased the home and plan to restore it, making it into a residence and a "Bed & Breakfast."

A 1903 news item lists Wymore as "ambitious to be known as a park city." There were then eight parks, with a ninth one opening in the 1920s. There was camping, two swimming pools, and a dance pavilion where big bands such as that of Lawrence Welk were a regular attraction. Arbor State Park (formerly the fair grounds) is still enjoyed today, as is McCandless Park on Highway 77, which includes an old country school and playground equipment. A nine-hole golf course is located west of town on land that was once sold as a gold mine, which turned out to be a bogus claim.

Wymore has successfully retained 17 blocks of original brick streets laid in the early 1920s using locally made bricks. Marshall Produce's plant was located in this section of town. Later, Parks Produce was established. During World War II, Wymore was known as "the Egg Capital of the World."

Wymore's school system has consolidated with neighboring districts. The present structure was built in 1925, but has been updated through the years and expanded to provide for a more modern curriculum.

Wymore owns a good water supply from natural springs located in Blue Springs. Our fire & rescue building is located where the hotel stood.

In 1960 the Good Samaritan Foundation purchased the Cadman Hotel for a nursing facility. At that time there were three residents and ten staff. The new facility, completed across the street from Burlington Park in 1973, has 59 residents and a staff of 45.

Wymore's peak population, 2,626, occurred in 1900. The 1990 census takers recorded 1,841 residents. In addition to a balanced business district, there is an eight-unit motel on Highway 77.

 

By Daphine Danforth, 501 North 7th, Wymore, NE 68466

 

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL: 75th Diamond Jubilee, 1956; Wymore Centennial, 1981; and History of Gage County, 1918.