(C) Village of Stratton, Nebraska - Website Design & Hosting Moments in Stratton’s Past 1870’s & 80’s - Large longhorn cattle ranches flourished in southwestern Nebraska.  The headquarters of the Kit Carter ranch were located a mile west of the village (currently home of Dan and Rawleyce Rife).  The Carter ranch extended from the Republican to the Frenchman River Valley.  Other large ranches in the area included the McGillin spread north and south of town and Ed Wilson’s Circle outfit. Spring 1879 - C.V. Bailey and his three sons, Ed, Seymour, and Frank, arrived from Kearney in a prairie schooner and built a log cabin where the Dairy King now stands.  The logs for the cabin were cut several miles up the Muddy Creek and pulled by two horses to the building site.  The cabin served as post office and store as well as home.  Later the town of “Frontier” gradually began to add a few settlers. 1881 or 82 - The first school was built just east of town.  The 14’x26’ frame building was soon outgrown by the expanding community. Late 1881 - The railroad reached the town on its way to Denver and a C.B.&Q. depot was constructed with loading pens nearby.  The railroad offered to rename the town after Miss Mary Stratton in exchange for her 80-acre squatter’s right claim to the village site.  Miss Stratton later married Harvey Gunder. 1884 - C.B. Diehl began a general merchandise store in Stratton with his partner, a Mr. Padget. 1885 - A new frame school building was constructed on approximately the same site where the current school stands. January 14, 1886 - The Hitchcock County Commissioners accepted a petition to incorporate the Village of Stratton.  The petition had been signed by 54 of the taxable inhabitants and stated that over 200 people lived in the community at the time. Mary 14, 1886 - The original members of the current Christian Union Church organized as the Church of Christ.  In 1895, the church became affiliated with the Nebraska Christian Missionary Society and became known as the Christian Church until it incorporated as the Christian Union Church of Stratton, Nebraska, in 1947. 1887 - W.G. Morten came to Stratton and became a partner with J.P. Price in a store that his daughter Mrs. Martha V. Grosse, ran until her age and health forced her to close the store in 1971. March 30, 1887 - The first building of the current Christian Union Church was dedicated.  It was built on lots one and two of block five on Bailey Street, which had been given to the church for $1 by H.S. and Mary (Stratton) Gunder.  The total cost of buildings and furnishings was $714.40. November 19, 1887 - Robert Burns Lodge 173 AF & AM was organized with 12 charter members. 1892 - The congregation of the present Church of Christ began meeting in the Miles schoolhouse. 1893 - A brick school was built north of the frame schoolhouse.  Although a McCook contractor built the structure, the bricks for the building were made in Stratton. 1893 - McCabe Chapel, a forerunner of the present Methodist Church, was built. 1894 - A severe drought and grasshopper plague caused many of the early settlers to give up hope and relocate. 1897 - The first class graduated from the Stratton Schools. 1900 - Dr. W.E. Stewart came to Stratton and practiced here until his death in 1938. 1904 - The Stratton Telephone Exchange was built by the Wray Telephone Company. December 16, 1906 - The original Methodist Church was dedicated as the Nicholas Vrooman Methodist Church.  Cost of the church was $3,300.  Governor Mickey was the speaker at the ceremony. 1907 - The Eden Church was built northwest of Stratton. 1909 - The Catholic Church purchased a former Protestant Church and began the first Catholic Church within the city limits of Stratton.  The building, after extensive remodeling, is now the present home of Denis and Deb League’s family. October 14, 1910 - Stratton’s original waterworks system was approved for construction. 1911 - Bonds of $3,500 were authorized for a municipal electric light plant. January 1915 - Fire destroyed a large part of Stratton’s brick schoolhouse.  High school classes were held on the second floor of Mrs. Grosse’s store for the rest of the year. 1917-18 - In World War I, 56 men served from Stratton.  Two of these men died in France and two died in camp. December 1921 - The municipal ice plant began operation. February 23, 1922 - After struggling with technicalities to issue the bonds, the village upgraded the light plant with $12,500 in improvements. March 16, 1923 - The Stratton Woman’s Club was organized.  A traveling library was one of the club’s first projects.  The books were kept in Elmer Martin’s shop. 1925 - A total of $25,000 was pledged to build the Veteran’s Memorial Hall.  Approximately 300 names were listed on the subscription list. 1926 - Miller Manufacturing Company was founded by Gustaf E. Miller on the same block on which League Builders Supply is also located.  The company built a small hammer-type grinding mill for small farm use which was sold nationwide and in Canada. 1927 - A gymnasium and vocational agriculture workshop were added to the school. October 30, 1930 - The present Methodist Church was dedicated as Community Methodist Church.  The cost of this church was $25,000.  Bishop Leete preached the dedicatory sermon. May 31, 1935 - The Republican River flood hit the Stratton area.  Mrs. Alva Stonecipher, her daughter, Mildred, and her niece, Ethel Black, were drowned when their rescue boat capsized five miles east of town.  Many other local people barely escaped with their lives and hundreds were left with memories of the disaster to share with future generations.  The southwest portion of Stratton was flooded as water from the Muddy Creek found nowhere else to flow.  Miles of Burlington railroad track were washed out, as well as most of the river bridges and some of the highway.  A one-man pontoon foot bridge was later constructed so people south of the river could reach the town for supplies.  Between 94 to 135 Nebraskans were killed by the flood. June 16, 1935 - Flood waters again endangered the Republican River Valley. 1937 - Diehl’s Lake, located two miles east of Stratton, was completed on Camp Creek during the Depression under the Federal Emergency Relief Administration.  Several local farmers used their teams of horses to help build the structure. 1938 - The Eden school was built. 1940 - Oscar E. Miller began production of his rod-weeder with semi-chisels which he had invented in 1938 while experimenting with stubble-mulch tillage.  The first Miller Weeder factory was located a half block west of Bailey Street along the highway. 1940’s - Stratton’s business district included automobile and farm implement dealerships, furniture and clothing stores, lumberyards, feed stores, general merchandise and grocery stores, as well as two factories. 1941-45 - In World War II, 227 people from the Stratton area served in the military.  Six of these men were killed. 1947 - The first uncounted disc harrow was built by Miller Manufacturing Company. October 1947 - Stratton celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Morten-Grosse store and the Commercial Bank. 1948 - The Church of Christ congregation moved into the town of Stratton and began meeting in the building just north of the present minister’s residence. Winter 1948-49 - Heavy blizzards, which began in November, continued throughout the winter and kept much of Nebraska buried in an unusual amount of snow. September 21, 1949 - A ground-breaking ceremony was held for the Trenton Dam, a $23,000,000 project. 1950 - Stratton’s swimming pool was constructed. 1950-53 - The Stratton area sent 54 men into military service during the Korean War.  There was one local fatality. 1951 - The Stratton Volunteer Fire Department purchased its city fire truck. July 25, 1951 - The present St. Joseph Catholic Church was dedicated by Bishop Louis B. Kucera.  The cost of the building was $45,000. February 10, 1952 - The second Christian Union Church building was dedicated on the same site as the original church. 1954 - A one-story, $300,000 addition to the Stratton School was completed for the elementary grades. 1955 - Gustaf Miller retired from Miller Manufacturing Company and, by 1958, Maurice E. Miller became sole operator of the business. 1956 - The Stratton school district consolidated with about seven other rural districts. 1956 - The Stratton Rural Fire Department was established and began serving the surrounding farming community. 1957 - Dr. Jack Harris began his practice in Stratton and continued his work here until his retirement in 1975. November 7, 1957 - “The Stratton News” and “The Palisade Times” consolidated with “The Trenton Register.”  The paper later became “The Hitchcock County News” on October 7, 1965. November 1957 - The first oil well in the Stratton area was drilled.  The well, known as #1 Hudson, was located NE NE of Section 1, T. 1 N., R. 34 W. and produced only 1,064 barrels of oil before being plugged in 1964. 1960 - The current Miller Weeder factory was built east of Stratton and the company was incorporated.  The company manufactured rod-weeders, basin tillers, lister dammers, feed grinders, tractor guides, and stubble punchers for customers from Texas to North Dakota and Canada.  The factory employed approximately 30 people throughout the year.  Oscar retired in 1967 and his son, Warren, continued to operate the business until 1976. August 1962 - Both the Indian and Muddy Creeks flooded, forcing several nearby residents to flee to higher ground or the upper stories of their homes. March 23, 1963 - The Hitchcock County Hospital was dedicated.  The building was constructed at a cost of about $265,000. 1965-73 - During the Vietnam War, 26 local men entered military service.  No local casualties were reported. October 1966 - An early snow and ice storm downed electrical and telephone lines throughout southwestern Nebraska.  Many people were without power for several weeks. May 26, 1967 - Stratton celebrated Nebraska’s centennial with a 35- unit parade and a barbecue which fed more than 1,000 people. 1968 - Highway 34 was expanded to four lanes through the Village of Stratton’s limits and changed the view of the town to travelers on the route. August 31, 1973 - An explosion in a small building used as the art room of the Stratton Schools seriously injured teacher Sally Yost and custodian Mike League.  Miss Yost died three weeks later at a burn center. January 1974 - Emergency medical technicians first began serving the community with a new $16,000 ambulance.  The first squad of 16 men and 11 women were trained in emergency care.  Before this time, ambulance service was provided by Ralph Jones for many years. February 12, 1974 - Amtrak’s San Francisco Zephyr No. 6 derailed near the east edge of Stratton.  The derailment injured 21 people. 1974 - Stratton School’s Industrial Arts Building was completed. 1974 - Miller Manufacturing Company plant space was expanded to approximately 66,000 square feet. 1974 - Stratton won first place in the Nebraska Community Improvement Program in the 301-800 population group.  The village won $450 for its efforts. 1976 - A new gymnasium and cafeteria was added to the Stratton School.  The total cost was $377,046. 1976 - Miller Weeder was sold to Ron Bieker and associates.  The factory continued to operate east of Stratton. August 8, 1976 - The tragic collision of the Sunday School bus of the Church of Christ and a Burlington-Northern freight train killed minister Thomas Nerren, his wife, Shirleen, and seven local children.  Eight other children were injured. Late 1970’s - Miller Manufacturing Company built a second manufacturing plant in Grand Island, Nebraska, to help build the wide line of Miller discs and later the silo-press.  The company also built a truck facility in Stratton to service and house its trucking fleet.  Both the Stratton and Grand Island factories employed over 100 people and sold Miller products throughout the United States, Canada, and several other foreign countries. 1977 - The Commercial Bank moved to its new location. September 18, 1977 - Members of Community United Methodist Church celebrated their 90th anniversary as an organized congregation in Stratton. 1978 – The Hitchcock County Hospital (first dedicated in 1963) was forced to close. 1980 - The Christian Union Church added a sanctuary and basement classrooms to the existing structure.  The work was done by the members themselves. 1981 - A declining farm economy forced the closing of the Miller Manufacturing Company plant in Stratton. March 14, 1983 - The Hitchcock County Senior Center served its first meal at the Grandview Retirement Center.  The Grandview Retirement Center is located in the former Hitchcock Country Hospital building.  In addition to the noon meals program, the facility provides apartment living for senior citizens.  Many social activities are also coordinated by the Hitchcock County Senior Center.  Noon meals are delivered once per month to each of the other three towns in Hitchcock County.  The Stratton Industrial Commission, Inc. is the owner/operator of the building and administers the operation of the Hitchcock County Senior Center and the Grandview Apartments.  The first administrator was Bev Earnest. 1985 - A new building for worship and Christian education was built by the Church of Christ congregation.  Most of the work and labor on this structure was donated by church members. Summer 1985 - Cable television was installed in Stratton by Custom Cable of Denver. November 11, 1985 - St. Joseph Catholic Church celebrated its Diamond Jubilee. December 31, 1985 - The area with a 10-mile radius of Stratton boasted 380 producing oil wells which pumped 1,697,000 barrels of oil during 1985.  Most of the production in Hitchcock County was in the Stratton area since there are 546 wells in the county which produced 1,984,000 barrels of oil during 1985.  The wells outside the Stratton area were approaching 25 years old. 1989 – St Joseph Catholic Church installed new stained glass windows. 1989 – The Village of Stratton purchased the old bank building from Commercial Bank.  The Village Office was moved from within the shop building into the newly purchased building at the corner of Bailey and Highway 34 (311 Bailey Street).  Remodeling was completed and it serves as a very nice village office with a meeting area for Village Board meetings.  The Village also purchased the two lots immediately south of the new village office location.  This was purchased from TP Inc. (Ted Pierce) This area is used as a small park with gazebo. 1990–1991 – The Community United Methodist Church constructed an addition to the south side of the church.  This addition added two new restrooms and an elevator that serves the basement, ground, and sanctuary levels. September 13, 1991 – A new addition to south side of the Grandview Retirement Center was dedicated.  The 720 square foot “sun room” or “Grandview Room” was provided by Venus Lionberger in memory of her husband, Carl.  The plaque, located on the north wall of the addition, states “This addition to Grandview Center has been donated by Venus Lionberger in memory of her husband Carl Lionberger, a long-time, highly respected businessman in the community of Stratton, Nebraska.” 1993 – Lakeview Lodge was incorporated.  This facility is located approximately three miles east of Stratton on old US Highway #34.   The property was purchased from the Golden Rod Girl Scout organization when their board chose to discontinue its operations.  It provides a great setting for weddings, hunting accommodations, nature studies, family reunions.  Numerous improvements have been made to the building and grounds.  It actually sets on land controlled by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.  The hunting in the area is very good.  The proximity to Swanson Reservoir (less than a mile) also makes it a great retreat. 1994 – Little House Museum Inc. was formed. This entity purchased a little house situated at the northeast corner of the park and north of the swimming pool. It was purchased from the Georgia Williamson Estate (Mother of Irene League). Little House Museum, Inc.’s goal is to provide displays of both permanent and on a private collection basis to preserve the history of the area with educational activities both literary and cultural. The museum is open the first and third Sunday afternoons from 1 pm to 5 pm in June, July, and A 1995 – The Stratton Community Foundation was established, in conjunction with the Nebraska Community Foundation, for the purpose of receiving, administering and distributing funds for community betterment.  All contributions to the fund will be available for allowable projects and programs to promote the general welfare of the residents of the Stratton Community, its rich heritage, and provide incentives for its continued growth.  Donations are tax deductible. 1999 – The last graduating class of Stratton High School was in 1999.  The following school year (1999-2000) Stratton, Culbertson and Trenton entered into a Unification Agreement.  Stratton & Trenton combined forces with a K-8 in Stratton and a 9-12 in Trenton.  This school was known as Lakeside Central.  Its mascot name was the Falcons. 2000 - The Stratton Industrial Commission, Inc. was able to build two new duplexes to the north of the Hitchcock County Senior Center/Grandview Apartments facility.  New concrete streets and driveways were also built around the new duplexes.  Underground sprinkling was installed to water the grass around the duplexes.  This construction was made possible through receipt of bequests from the estates of Alta Miller and Venus Lionberger.  2001- Timber Creek Homes, Inc., owned by Charles Pelkey and Carl Rasmussen, opened their modular home manufacturing company at the east edge of Stratton.  Approximately 85% of the homes are sold as up-scale homes in the ski and recreation areas of Colorado.  The remaining new homes have been sold in other states including Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, California, and New Mexico.  The factory has provided very important employment for thirty to sixty employees over the years. September 8, 2003 – The Commercial Bank (established in 1887) was sold to the McCook National Bank.  All employees continued to work for the merged organization.  The McCook National Bank has a long history in Southwest Nebraska after being founded in McCook in 1907. 2004 – In 2004 Culbertson’s school enrollment dropped enough that they were unable to maintain a K-12 any longer.  Stratton, Culbertson, & Trenton were already a part of the Unification Agreement established in 1999.  So, the schools then became known as Hitchcock County Schools with Stratton and Culbertson each maintaining K-6 and all 7-12 students attending in Trenton.  2007 –   The unified school of Stratton, Trenton, and Culbertson was still in financial trouble.  The Stratton district had two options:  The first was to close the schools in Stratton & Culbertson and the students of all three communities would attend in Trenton, or, Stratton could join with Dundy County in an effort to keep a K-6 school in Stratton.  After an advisory election in March 2007, it was decided by the school board, following the wishes of the voters, to consolidate with Dundy County.  In this agreement, Stratton would keep a K-6 by combining classes.  So, in 2007 the Stratton facility became a part of the new Dundy County-Stratton School District and is now known as Stratton Elementary.  Remodeling of the north part of the Elementary, which began the summer of 2007, included modernizing the elementary wing & new heating/AC.  The newer gym and lunch room continued to be used.  The old gym and west hallway (four class rooms and offices) were scheduled to be demolished the summer of 2009. June 30, 2007 - The Advisory Board of the Stratton Community Foundation, accepted a $50,000.00 Challenge Grant from the Robert and Jeannette Hunt Community Fund. Mr. and Mrs. Hunt were the founders of Great Plains Communications, our local telephone and internet service provider. Their foundation board selected Stratton as one of only ten communities in the state to receive their $50,000.00 Challenge Grant. This challenge had to be matched by the Stratton community on at least a 3-to-1 basis within a three year time frame.  A total of $150,000.00 needed to be raised (and was raised) by February 10, 2010 in order for Stratton to receive the $50,000.00.  This means that the Stratton Community Foundation now has a $200,000 endowment fund.  The newly formed endowment fund of the Stratton Community Foundation is, in essence, a savings account for the Stratton community. Contributions to this fund are placed in financial vehicles that will grow the funds year after year. A certain amount of the interest generated by the endowment fund will be given back to the Stratton community in the form of grants, gifts, and scholarships. December 2007 – The Stratton Country Market opened in the same building where Paul’s IGA had served the community for some twenty-six years under the management of Kerry and Cindy Krutsinger.   Kerry and Cindy sold the store to Craig Horibik in 2001 and he operated the store for about three years before being forced to close it.  The community then had no grocery store for almost three years.  The Stratton Area Community proved they were “hungry for a grocery store” when they worked together to update the freezers with twenty-five newer upright glass door freezers cooled by brand new refrigeration units. A new produce/dairy refrigeration unit was also installed.  The produce/dairy/meat cooling room and the meat refrigeration chest line had their refrigeration units replaced with new.  Checkout scanners and scales were also introduced.  The total funds raised within the community to re-establish a grocery store in Stratton came to approximately $200,000.  Gladys Brockway was the store’s first manager.  The store employs an equivalent of three full time employees.  Ongoing assistance from volunteers takes care of a good share of shelf stocking each week along with many other grocery store tasks.   August 2011 – Timber Creek Homes, Inc. was sold to NexGen, LLC.  NexGen LLC looks forward to continuing operations in Stratton.  One of the main reasons that this manufacturer has chosen Stratton is because of its people’s very strong work ethic. September 2011 – Commodity and Farm Real Estate Prices Corn - $6.50/bushel; Wheat - $6.52/bushel 500 Lb. Feeder Steers - $1.44/lb average per Tri-State Livestock, McCook 500 Lb. Feeder Heifers - $1.34/lb average per Tri-State Livestock, McCook Pivot Irrigated Farm Land - $2,760/acre per University of Nebr. March 2011 Dry Farm Land - $875/acre per University of Nebr. March 2011 Pasture Land - $490/acre per acre per University of Nebr. March 2011 PO Box 332, 311 Bailey Street Stratton, Nebraska 69043 United States (308) 276-2184 Email Pay your pool pass and/or utility payments here Pool pass & utility payments