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Nebraska...Our Towns

Nebraska...Our Towns

Lyman -- Scotts Bluff County

Prairie and forest fires were a real threat to life, livestock and buildings especially in early years. Fireguards were plowed around farmsteads, often hurriedly as a fire approached.

Lyman, less than a mile from the Wyoming border, is located south of the North Platte River. Because of its semi-arid climate, this area did not develop as soon as those with more moisture.

The first influx of non-native people began in 1843 when migration along the North Platte River was the main trail to Oregon. Wagon trains followed the trails along river. The panhandle area didn't see any major settlement until the 1870s when, among other factors, the annihilation of the buffalo, which eliminated the food supply, brought the Indians under control.

At one time there was a small community known as Caldwell, approximately three miles southeast of the present town of Lyman. All that remains is a historic old cemetery. Several miles northeast of our town is the site of the Horse Creek Treaty signing. Here the High Plains Indians signed a peace treaty with the United States Government in 1851. A pony express station was also located near this site.

Ranching started in the 1870s with homesteaders moving into the area in the 1900s. That is when the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad completed its line from Alliance to the Wyoming border. Although this track was on the north side of the river, it provided access for homesteaders until the Union Pacific tracks reached the site of Lyman in 1922. Both lines contributed to the growth of Lyman.

The original main street of Lyman was located on the main Lyman-Henry road. When local businessmen were able to convince the U.P. to locate a station on its new line, they moved the business district to Jeffers Avenue, so the main street would be adjacent to the new station. Passenger service was discontinued in 1971 and not long after, the depot was removed.

Three forces contributed to Lyman's development as a town: Gering-Fort Laramie Irrigation Canal, the Union Pacific Railroad, and the Great Western sugar factory. These events all occurred in the period from 1921 to 1927. During this time, electricity was installed (1921) and the village incorporated (1922). Lyman saw continued growth until 1941, during the war years.

Great Western Sugar factory opened in 1927. It closed its operation during the war, but reopened for two seasons following. It closed permanently in 1949 when the factory was dismantled to provide parts for a new site at Goodland, Kansas.

In 1960 Couplamatic, Inc., a manufacturer of hydraulic hose couplets and fittings, came to town. In 1967 the main office of the old sugar factory became the office of House of Hose, another hydraulic hose company. With this growth during the 1960s and 70s, a new subdivision was developed on the east side of town, providing new home sites.

Couplamatic is currently owned by Kurt Manufacturing Company, and is the major employer in the community. Lyman Elevator constructed 16 grain storage bins from 1982 to 1987 on property annexed by the village in 1982. That same year, fire destroyed the Kelley Bean Company warehouse. However, it has been replaced by a new bean storage facility.

Lyman has a K-12 school system for approximately 180 students. The 1980 census for our town was 552.

By Helen Hort, Village Clerk, Box 301, Lyman, NE 69352