Niobrara: A Town Too Tough to Stay Put

Niobrara had a big problem with flooding early in its history, so its residents did the only sensible thing. They moved the town. The whole town.

The town of Niobrara was established in 1857 along the Missouri River, about a mile southeast of its confluence with the Niobrara river. In March 1881 an ice jam flooded the town with three to six feet of water. By April the town had been flooded three times. Teamsters, armed with house jacks, winches and capstans, block-and-tackles, oxen, mules, and horses moved Niobrara, building by building, to the benchland a mile and a half to the southwest. Although moving an entire town seems remarkable, Niobrara was moved again in the 1970s when a rising water table, caused by the Gavins Point Dam, threatened the town. The third, and current, town of Niobrara was dedicated on July 4, 1977.


Missouri River flood at Niobrara, 1881 (RG2118.PH5-14

Ice gorge at Niobrara, 1881​ (RG2118.PH5-16)















Missouri River flood at Niobrara, 1881​ (RG2118.PH5-15)


Niobrara on Wheels. Houses being relocated a mile and one-half west to higher land. (RG2118.PH5-17)

Moving Hubbard House at Niobrara, 1881 (RG2118.PH5-18)


















Niobrara on Wheels (RG2118.PH5-19)

Niobrara on Wheels, 1881 (RG2118.PH5-19)

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