A new town in Hamilton County!! What great news! Enthusiasm was high at the auction on September 12, 1906. The Union Pacific Railroad had authorized the City Improvement Company of Stromsburg to plat a town on the land acquired for extending a branch line from that town to Central City. Land had been purchased from the Swedish church and several farmers for $100 an acre. Here was the chance to be a part of the new town, "Hordville," named for T.B.Hord, a prominent cattle feeder and grain dealer.
At that time there were only two buildings on the town site, the Fridhem Lutheran Church, erected in 1882, and a parsonage. The village was planned with a wide boulevard extending down the main street and ending in a park. Lots sold quickly. The next day work began on a store on the west side of Main Street, originally selling general merchandise. Later it became a grocery store which is still in operation.
Soon after the tracks were laid by Greek and Chinese workers, and with cornfields all around, new buildings sprang up all down the street. Two buildings were moved in from Stark, a trading post east of Hordville, which was abandoned when the railroad came. The First State Bank, capitalized with $10,000 and chartered on September 10, 1906, opened in temporary quarters even before its building was completed. Robbed twice, it remains strong and is now located in a new building erected in 1982.
During the next few years Hordville boomed. It boasted of having five doctors, four grocery stores, a drugstore, a jewelry store, a hardware store, a photography studio, a garage, a blacksmith shop, a hatchery, and a large lumberyard (which was sometimes used for basketball games). There was a barbershop, a shoe repair shop, and a cafe, in addition to a hotel and livery stable used by traveling salesmen, boarders, and visitors to the community. Most of these are gone now. The cafe still provides food and drink for the community, a beauty shop is in the old bank building, and the former town hall is now a woodworking shop.
Another of the early buildings has been transformed into a much-used, attractive community hall. Next door is the post office, telephone building, and a new fire hall built in 1983. On a shady lot across the street, some of Hordville's older citizens make their home at Lindenwood, a housing project built in 1978.
The original Hord Elevator, located south of the railroad, soon had competition from area farmers who organized a co-operative association and built a new elevator. This Farmers Co-op is the fourth oldest in the state and has replaced both old structures with a much larger, better-equipped facility. The railroad, the elevator, and the new united co-op car service center nearby are kept busy serving the farmers' needs.
When a new church was built, the original church building was moved to the main street in 1908 and used as an opera house and town hall. In 1921 the First Baptist Church, also a Swedish congregation, was moved to town. These two churches remain an active and vital part of the community. A Methodist Church, built in 1907, closed in 1955.
In 1912 a school was built in town for the students of District 61. With enlargements and modernization, it served the community for many years. Hordville has a proud history of achievement in music, drama, and athletics. Teams from Hordville have done well in both boys' and girls' competition, with back-to back Class D State Basketball Championships for the boys in 1981 and 1982. In 1987 Hordville and Polk merged to form a larger school district. The local facility became the middle school for grades 6-8.
This quiet little village, which started with so much optimism, never reached a population of 200 -- even during its peak years in the 1920s. Chosen by the Nebraska Community Improvement Program as the outstanding village in its class in 1980, Hordville, with the continued support of its 150 citizens and the surrounding rural community, will still be providing a good life when it celebrates its centennial in 2006.
By Gladys Anderson, Box 74, Hordville, NE 68846, with the help of Marie Clayton and Verna Erickson.