Skip Navigation

University of Nebraska–Lincoln

  • Virtual Nebraska Logo

Virtual Nebraska

Nebraska...Our Towns

BLOOMFIELD -- KNOX COUNTY

The town of Bloomfield was born at a huge "sale-of-lots auction" on October 2, 1890. Located 15 miles south of the Missouri River, it is eight miles west of the Knox-Cedar County line. The "Bloomfield Monitor," also arriving at the birth of the community, reported that between 400-500 men gathered to take part in the beginning of Bloomfield. Lavis Dennis, well-known auctioneer in the territory, took bids ranging from $75 to $400. "...the property, owned by the North Nebraska Townsite Company, is well chosen, not only for its geographically strategic location, but also for its natural beauty and resources." This location placed Bloomfield in a 40-year dispute over the location of the county seat with the towns of Niobrara, Creighton, and Verdigre.

The reporter for the "Monitor" continued: "...there is no denying the beauty of the luxurious verdure of the virgin, rolling prairie coursed by numerous meandering streams along whose banks bubbled and gurgled the pure, cool water of countless laughing springs. The rich, loamy soil, underlaid by a thick subsoil, in addition to producing tender wild grasses and lovely wild flowers of a thousand hills, could produce in marked abundance any crop known to the great northwest..."

The town was "rightly named" because of the goldenrod blooming in the fields at that time of the year. (It has also been said that a man named Bloomfield Dyer owned the land at this location.)

The ensuing years brought thousands of farmers and ranchers to the area, creating a large trade territory for the town. Agriculture and ranching are still the major source of income for its people, urban and rural alike. Among the many years of abundant crops, the area has seen its share of storms, prairie fires, floods, and drought.

A number of churches were established, with five existing today: two Lutheran, a Methodist, a Catholic, and a non-denominational group.

Schools were also built. In addition to a public school system, both the Missouri Synod Lutheran and the Catholic churches established parochial schools for their youth. Supplemented by the students from many one-room schools over the years, until the reorganization period in the early 1960s, Bloomfield can boast one of the finer school systems in the state.

Bloomfield became the site of the county fair in 1918. Supported by the strong agricultural-based community, it ranked as third largest fair in Nebraska in 1940.

Industry in the area is also ag-related. For years Bloomfield had one of the largest livestock feed-mix plants in the area. The business, established by local interests, was sold to Norco Mills of Norfolk but continued its operation at this location.

The "Monitor" special edition in 1940 noted that Bloomfield offered nearly all retail and professional services, "...serving people from birth-to-death, and fulfilling every need in between."

The Bloomfield Farmers & Merchants State Bank, also born that day in October 1890, still thrives with branches at Niobrara, Center, and Crofton.

For many years, a local ranch near Bloomfield boarded thousands of wild horses, brought in from several western states, to be managed and sold to horse-enthusiasts and ranchers. The corrals were always a focal point for visitors to the area, however as their numbers diminished in the last few years, the facility closed.

Presently working on plans for its centennial observance in 1990, citizens of Bloomfield are hard at work to complete a book, and make all the arrangements for the festivities. Having successfully survived the first 100 years, it is hoped that the coming generations will see a continuance of this busy city of over 1,400 people who call Bloomfield "home."

From material submitted by William Skrivan, former mayor, 201 S. Randolph Street, Bloomfield, NE 68718.