History Nebraska Blog

Marker Monday: Broken Bow Town Square


Broken Bow Town Square, Custer County, Nebraska

Marker Text

Broken Bow was platted 1882 by Jesse Gandy. He donated lots to people who would build a house or establish a business. He did this to influence voters to make the new town the Custer County seat, which they did in an election that fall. The Burlington and Missouri River Railroad reached Broken Bow in 1886. Anticipating new commerce, the Lincoln Land Company purchased large tracts of land. The town flourished with the arrival of the railroad. The region’s rich agricultural territory was now open to distant markets, and Broken Bow became a regional trade center.

Gandy’s plat reserved one block as a public square surrounded by business lots. The square has served as the commercial district’s focal point, landscaped with trees, walkways, and a bandstand. The town square centers on buildings dating to the late nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century, representing the town’s periods of development. The Broken Bow commercial historic district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

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