to Pickrell, Nebraska!
Pickrell is located one mile east of Highway 77 on Highway Spur 34D, 8 miles north of Beatrice, NE, and 9 miles south of Cortland, NE. The community is approximately 32 miles south of Lincoln, the capital of Nebraska.
Pickrell: The Town With The Hill
Pick Hill, originally a favorite toboggan/snow sled run, was dedicated as the town of Pickrell on January 30, 1884 by Watson Pickrell and George W. Hinkle. The village lies between Indian Creek to the east and dry Possum Creek to the west. It is located 8 miles north of Beatrice or 32 miles south of Lincoln, one-half mile east of Highway 77.
Pickrell was the site of the first saw and grist mill in the county. It failed financially within one year and was later conveyed to the Otoe Indian Reservation. Union Pacific Railroad tracks were laid along the east side of Pickrell, completing the line between Lincoln and Beatrice, in 1884. The first post office was housed in the Farmers' elevator. This office burned down in 1890 and was moved several times before settling in its present location in 1968.
The main street was named Austin after Edward C. Austin, one of the original land owners. The first inhabitant was Mr. Bashaw who originally built his house outside of Pickrell and later moved it into town. The first house built in Pickrell belonged to Ed White. At one time, the village boasted two general stores, two elevators, three garages, a bank, an implement shop, a drug store, a hardware store, a cream station, a hotel, a blacksmith shop, a barber shop, a lumber yard, a tavern, a drug business, and a cabinet shop with cement block company.
The first school was built in 1885. In 1912, a new three-room red brick building was completed and became a ten-grade school. Classes were held in this building until the school was closed in 1974. The district consolidated with Beatrice and children still attend school in Beatrice.
Pickrell was incorporated as a Village on August 14, 1913.
One of the first actions of the Village Board was to grant a saloon license to George G. Williamson. Since Beatrice was a dry town, this was a boost to the town's commerce. The Board also passed ordinances to prohibit: a "dance house," immoderate riding of any horse or mule along any street, selling intoxicating beverages to Indians, or a saloon to be open on Sunday.
A United Brethren Church group called The Christian Endeavor, was established before 1915 and was the precursor to the current United Methodist Church.
The first gas street lamps were erected in 1915. Electric transmission lines were installed in 1922. The minimum charge for "electric juice" was $1.00 per month plus $0.18 per kilowatt. A $5.00 deposit was charged each consumer for their meter.
In 1934, the Village Board enacted a "Foul Ordinance" which provided for a fine of $1.00 - $5.00 for allowing ducks, geese, chickens or turkeys to run at large.
"Pickrell Road" from highway 77 to the Village was paved in 1958. In the 1970s, most of the streets in the town were asphalted.
The first community water system was installed in 1953 and sewer lines were laid in the 1960s.
The last medical doctor to live in Pickrell, Dr. Amesbury Lee, was a graduate of Creighton Medical School. He practiced in Pickrell from 1910 until his death about 1942.
The current concrete elevator was built about 1960 and the two north tubes were added in 1978.
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