Growth of Lincoln County through educational institutions

Throwback Thursday
The accessibility of the schools created additional problems for Lincoln County. The distance between communities, farms, and schools created the need for more
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 5:36 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Nebraska is known for the most one-room schoolhouses in the nation. In 1986, there were over 300 one-room schoolhouses in the state. Lincoln County’s growth throughout the years can be seen based on the population size, the number of businesses and education establishments.

The accessibility of the schools created additional problems for Lincoln County. The distance between communities and farms created the need for more schools. The increase in schools meant kids did not have to walk more than three to five miles to attend class. In the sand hills, the school was placed on a sled and transported to the kids’ location.

In the 1900s, the prominent schools in the county included Wallace, Brady, Maxwell, and Hershey. There were at least 100 small school districts in Lincoln County. The largest district school was Platte Valley, located between North Platte and Hershey. It was the largest because it consisted of many farming families.

As the population continued to grow, the need for more schools increased. The first school in North Platte was established in 1868 and located at the corner of downtown, where Brown Shoe fit is today. By 1870, the need for more schools was greater. Union Pacific Railroad purchased a block of land and built the first school not made of logs. McDaid Elementary was founded shortly after that.

“All the outlining towns in North Platte and Lincoln County have built new schools since then,” said Jim Griffin, Curator Director of the Lincoln County Historical Museum. “It shows how the county has grown and become more prosperous. Education has grown from a little log county in the middle of North Platte to a community college.”

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