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Nebraska...Our Towns

Nebraska...Our Towns

Carroll -- Wayne County

Building the Woods, Wolf, and Berry Brothers General Store in Carroll, 1897.
Carroll's Main Street, 1897. Original Methodist Church was moved into the street in 1913 and used while new one was built.
Main Street Carroll, 1910. Stock pavilion at the end of the street

When the railroads broke through the prairies of Wayne County in 1886, towns were established at intervals of 8 to 12 miles. The location of Carroll was determined by E. W. Winter, general manager of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railroad, who named the town for Charles Carroll, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

G. W. Yaryan, his wife, and three small children, having arrived at their homestead by covered wagon in 1885, agreed to provide lodging and board for the railroad workers. As the home was small, the men slept in the hay mow of the barn. Mrs.Yaryan managed the cooking for the crew of from 12 to 40 men, besides taking care of the children, raising a garden, and caring for a cow. A trip to Wayne was made once a week for groceries, and the butcher, James Rock, came every other day with fresh meat. (The first day they had steak, and the next day parboiled roast so it would not spoil.)

There were no trees or houses when a quarter section of land was platted and streets laid out -- only rolling hills, a ribbon of steel rails, and a depot.

In November 1886, Gus Wendt, the first section foreman, arrived from Emerson and built a house (a shack, actually) for his family, which moved to Carrol in the spring. That fall Frank and John Berry set up a general store in a tent. Come spring, they built a small store near the depot. T. M. Woods and Henry Wolfe joined the company known as Woods, Wolf, and Berry Brothers. The post office was in this store.

Tom Berry, brother of Frank and John, managed the Peavey Company elevator and lumberyard across from the store. Charles Andrews built a drug store, W. B. Wineland started a shoe shop, M. S. Merrill established a bank, and Henry Krebs was the first blacksmith. Charles Cox, Carroll's first newspaper editor, also operated a cafe in connection with the paper, and his family lived upstairs.

Dr. Northrop was the first doctor, coming in 1891. Dr.Love came in 1894, and Dr. Texley arrived in 1901.

The water system was installed in 1910. In 1918 the village purchased the light plant from a private owner, L. E. Morris. In 1950 the village began receiving power from the rural electrification district, making it necessary to change all existing motors from D.C. to A.C.

Old wooden sidewalks were replaced in 1901 and brick paving, the first in Wayne County, was installed on Main Street in 1921. Gravel was put on other streets in 1937.

Carroll started with a small schoolhouse, that was replaced in 1900 by a two-story frame building for grades 1-10. Grade eleven was added in 1909. A K-12 building, the present structure, was built in 1914. When enrollment declined the school was merged and become the Wayne-Carroll Schools, with K-4 classes held locally.

The stock pavilion, built in 1907, was the hub of Saturday activity in Carroll for many years, and is still used as our "trademark." The early pioneers were very proud of quality horses. W. H. Billiter, first president of the pavilion, owned and imported Percheron horses and Poland China Hogs. The drought, hard times, and bank failures during the thirties brought an end to stock sales.

Carroll's peak years were from 1916-1920. At that time there were over 30 businesses and shops, and a population of over 500.

In 1970 the town put in a modern sewer system and lagoon. This, along with other improvements, has encouraged many young families to locate in Carroll. Older homes have been extensively remodeled and many new homes have been built.

Today Carroll has 18 businesses which include a bank, a large poultry business, and an elevator, along with a library, school, and two churches.

Carroll celebrated its centennial in July of 1986 with a high school alumni banquet, and "the largest parade ever seen in Carroll." Many former residents and children of former residents returned to Carroll to make the celebration a big success. The park was filled to capacity to watch the town's pageant.

With 100 years behind it Carroll, with a current population of 250, proudly looks forward to its second century as one of Nebraska's small towns.

By Jerry Junck, P.O Box 128, Carroll, NE 68723

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL: Carroll -- Wheel of Progress , by Barvetta McLain, Etta Fischer, Ivy and Jerry Junck, 1985. Copies found in both the Carrol and Wayne libraries.