The Village of Stapleton began in 1912 when the Union Pacific Railroad extended a branch line west from Callaway into Logan County. That line, built from Kearney to Callaway in 1890, was to eventually cross McPherson and Arthur counties and link up with a main line along the North Platte River in Garden County. However, that part of the plan did not materialize, so Stapleton remained a terminus station. In the early years this was a big asset because people from a wide came to Stapleton to trade and travel.
The station was established in the south part of the county. A new town site was part of three different homesteads, in two section of land. It is said that the town was named for a Mr. Stapleton who had offered to give the town a sizable donation.
The first board of trustees, appointed by the Logan County commissioners to hold office until an election could be held, were Chairman W.A. McCain, general store owner; and members, E.F. Carr, doctor; W.H. Quade, banker; H.E. Roush, editor; and F.E. Peterson, banker. The town was incorporated in 1913, with the city limits defined by an ordinance. These corporate limits have been changed several times over the past 75 years
Although established much later than many Nebraska towns, the records indicate that Stapleton was a typical, rough, frontier town. Or at least it went through a period of time when no one was taking "law and order" for granted. A 1913 ordinance called for a 9 P.M. curfew for all under the age of 15 "...to prevent loitering and youth being on the streets at all times of the night."
Today Stapleton is the county seat of Logan County and is one of only two villages in the county, the other being Gandy, an older town by-passed by the railroad. As Gandy continued to diminish in size, the people petitioned for an election to move the seat of government, held by Gandy since 1885, to Stapleton. The election, held on May 2, 1929, favored Stapleton. However, the matter was not settled until February 24, 1930, when the records were finally transferred to the old Nicholas Hotel. The first courthouse burned in 1962 and a modern brick courthouse was dedicated in 1964, currently serves the county.
The Stapleton school serves all of Logan County and parts of Lincoln and McPherson counties. At the present time, ten buses bring over 200 students from the surrounding area into town for their education at District R-1.
There are three churches in Stapleton: St.John's Catholic, First United Presbyterian, and Assembly of God.
From a booming frontier town, the businesses have shrunk to just a few. In addition to the county offices, Stapleton has two grocery stores, a tavern, hardware propane store, county newspaper (published weekly), implement dealer, veteran's club, post office, motel and cafe, snack shop, elevator, and senior center. The county's population is listed at 985. The population of Stapleton, from a high of 431 recorded in 1930, currently stands at about 350. The railroad that started the town discontinued service in 1977, so state highways 83 and 92 are now what connects the town with the rest of the world. Stapleton provides a market, goods, and services for a wide area.
Thanks to the foresight of the early pioneers, our town has a large city park. The facilities now include a camping area, tennis court, playground equipment, picnic shelter, and an arboretum with many unique varieties of trees and shrubs.
The village and county jointly provide fire protection with six trucks and two ambulances.
The biggest assets of the village of Stapleton are the people living in the town and the surrounding county, who help and care for each other.
By Wilma Salisbury, Box 147, Stapleton, NE 69163
ADDITIONAL MATERIAL: Logan County, Thru the Years, 1912-1962; and a 100 year history of Logan County, currently being published. (Priced at $40 at the time of this printing.)