The Town of Maxwell, Nebraska

The Early Days
The 1800's

Historic Downtown Maxwell, Nebraska
W. H. Merrick & Co. in the foreground.
The hotel is the farthest away.

The Railroad reached Maxwell in late 1866.
The Huntington branch of my family came to Maxwell in 1872. Arthur Merrick and L.E. Story came in 1897, when they opened 'W.H. Merrick & Co.' a general store which is still owned by the family. It stands in the same spot where it was reassembled after being moved from Fort McPherson a few years earlier.

'The Loggy'

The loggy is the oldest building in the county. It was built at Fort McPherson as the officers quarters before the railroad came to town. The railroad reached Maxwell in late 1866.

The building was bought and moved. The square logs were numbered and the building was totally disassembled. It was reassembled where it still stands today.

It has been stuccoed over on the outside, but the logs can still be seen from the inside if you know where to look. The newly moved building was bought for a general store.

"W.H. Merrick & Co.'s first building from south."
"Back of building."
(Was written on the back of picture by my grandmother)


The Inside of
W. H. Merrick & Co.
The original loggy.
Maxwell, Nebraska
Note the gas lights.
Before electricity
came to town.

Edna Laura Merrick Story
with three of her six children.

Edna lived in Maxwell. She took the train to Kearney
where this photograph was taken. Her parents
William H. & Mary Susan (Grindle) Merrick,
lived in Amherst, Nebraska, near Kearney.
They owned a store there. Louis E. Story's mother,
Melinda Deyo Story, brother Arthur and sister Alice
also had a store and post office near Kearney.
Before her marriage Edna taught school.

First Baptist Church
Maxwell, Nebraska Built c. 1903
Roof is still under construction in this picture.

Maxwell Train Depot
The railroad reached Maxwell in late 1866.
The Depot was torn down c. 1960.

Maxwell Public School Built in 1912

Maxwell Grain Elevator
The elevator was torn down several years back.
Now even the weigh station is gone.
The town used to be filled with these giant cottonwood trees.

This is the 'new' store addition on the new front of the old log building, on the new Main Street. The streets and allies have been changed over the years. Originally the main street faced the tracks.

Close Ups


These oxen were used to make a ditch to drain the swamp area north of the tracks west of town - the ditch now called 'The Bull Ditch.' The 48 oxen pulled a big plow thru the swamp. Owner and driver was a man named Moore - not a local man. In one place the plow sunk and had to be dug out.


The Old Military Road had a single lane bridge crossing the Platte River south of town.

This picture is one my Dad took near Maxwell.
This sod house is much like the one my
Grandma was born in on the East Island Road south of Maxwell in 1899.

Sioux Lookout

Cyrus Fox, veteran of the Civil War, donated this statue to be placed upon the point. For many years this Indian stood looking out over the valley. The top of Sioux Lookout is the highest point in the county.

Ferne Babbitt Story rode the horse up as it pulled the massive Indian, she was the only one small enough not to put much added weight on the horse but yet still be able to handle the horse with very little room to work with at the top.

It has been taken down by helicopter to be restored to its original form as this picture shows. He is now on display by the Lincoln County Court house looking much smaller as the stop lights and buildings tower above the mighty warrior. It is doubtful he will ever be returned to his post.

'Hair Lip Cowboy and George Johnson'

Howard Story took this photo in the hills outside of town. Poor little guy.

How the town of Maxwell was Named

James Maxwell was an officer for the Union Pacific Railroad.
The railroad named most of the towns along the railway.
The railroad named the town after James Maxwell.

The Book 'Perkey's Nebraska Place Names' on page 27 reads:
'Maxwell. Peak population (1940), 480.
Post office name changed from McPherson May 15, 1882.
Town named for an official of the Union Pacific Railroad.'

Jerod Story, as town historian, received a letter from the Maxwell Family looking for information on the town who was named after their ancestor.

"The voices of the past are like leaves that settle to the ground.
They make the earth rich and thick, so that new fruit will come forth every summer."

-Chief Dan George-

"We are the children of many sires,
and every drop of blood in us in its turn betrays its ancestor."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson-

History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past,
trying to reconstruct its themes, to revive its echoes and kindle
with pale gleams the passion of former days.

-Sir Winston Spencer Churchill-

My Genealogy Pages
Old Time Photographs & History
My Family History and the History of the town of Maxwell, Nebraska

My Family History From Maxwell, Nebraska.
The early years from the 1800's
Maxwell, Nebraska
More of the Town ~ Early Years
Maxwell, Nebraska
More Recent Years
Maxwell School
The School and Early Class Photos

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To the best of my knowledge all photographs on this page were taken and copyrighted by family members.
This site was created in 1999-2013 by A. Olsen ęCopyright 1999-2013, A. Olsen. All Rights Reserved.
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