Communities and Post Offices
The following information about towns and Post Offices established in Chase County was collected by the Chase County Historical Society over the course of their existence since 1938, and published in a series of Histories which can be purchased directly from the Society, or viewed at the Imperial Public Library which has copies in its collections in Imperial, Nebraska. Towns often grew up around post offices, and became extinct when post offices closed, or the rail road did not travel near them.
Old Enders was named for Peter Enders and was located two miles east of the present site of Enders. It was platted in 1890. At one time there was a train switch yard located in Enders. The District 41 school house was once located in Enders.
The Hancock Post Office was established in the home of Milton Earl on April 24,
1893. George Brady, son-in-law of Milton Earl, became Postmaster on January 22,
1906. Charles L. Jones followed Brady as Postmaser on August 29, 1910, and brought
it across the county line to Chase County to his home.
Charles L. Jones took over as Postmaster when Milton earl was elected county Clerk of Dundy County and moved to Benkelman. Arda Jones, son of Charles L. Jones, told Historical Society researchers that they went to Kaw in Dundy County once or twice a week for the mail. The office served six or eight families in the area. The Post Office was discontinued on June 30, 1911 and the mail was directed to Lamont in Dundy County.
The original town of Imperial
was built on land homestead by Thomas Mercier and M. L. Goodrich. Mr. Mercier was
born in Sarnia, Ontario. He was French Canadian. The road which is now State
Highway 61, running east and west, was the dividing line between the two homesteads.
Mr. Mercier, who named the town Imperial, had the homestead south of the line, and Mr.
Goodrich had the one north. Monsignor Thomas Mercier, a grandson of Thomas
Mercier, told Historical Society researchers that his grandfather told him of laying out
streets and lots in Imperial with a hatchet, level and stakes. His first two
children (twins) were the first burials in the local cemetery.
These men gave a lot to anyone who would put up a building and help to start the town. On one corner was a bank, and on another corner was a two-story double building. C. N. Cottrell had a hardware store in one side of this double building, and Otto Fliesbach had a general merchandise store in the other side. The families lived upstairs over the store. On the other two corners were two more general stores: Brittell's and Mercier's. The post office was located in Mercier's store. There was also a lumber rd owned by Mr. Whitman, a drug store owned by Mr. Smith, a livery stable owned by two brothers, L. W. and B. T. Smith, and a blacksmith shop. At one point soon after the town was established another bank headed by Frank Thuresson was established. Most of the buildings were built in the summer of 1886. Materials for the buildings as well as supplies for the stores were freighted in from Benkelman.
The first bank in Imperial, owned by Mr. Beltzer, failed, but O. P. Shallenberger purchased property and along with J. P. Sewell started what has become the Farmers' and Merchants Bank. The original building was moved several times and used for other businesses in Imperial, and was once used for church services.
hen the railroad went through, the Lincoln Land Company gave lots to all those men who would move their buildings to the new townsite in trade for their lots in the original town. Nearly all of the buildings and businesses were moved and the present location of Imperial's business district was established. In May of 1888 as the town was being moved and rebuilt, a small tornado struck the town and did some damage.
Thomas Mercier was the first Post Master and took office on December 14, 1885. His daughter, Willetta M. O'Rourke, told researchers that her father walked to Benkelman to get the mail. She said that they hauled all their water from the creek, and this was only when someone with a horse and barrel could take them. She said they were often short of water, and would wipe their plates off and turn them over and eat off the other side to save water. Mr. Mercier became involved in politicas, and after his store burned down for the second time, he took a job as a salesman in Wyoming and Montana.
Additional Post Masters include: Davie G. Hines, who took office November 15, 1886; James E. Bigler took office on December 29, 1887; Alonzo Cunningham, on December 9, 1889, J. Frank Epperson, on March 20, 1891; Burton North, on May 25, 1893; Thomas Mercier, for a second term, on July 2, 1897; Charles W. Meeker, on January 20, 1902, A. S. Campbell, on January 22, 195, and Archie L. Smith, on May 21, 1920. The Archives records terminate at 1930.
The census of 1930 shows the population of Imperial as 946 people.
Research on Imperial was provided to Historical Society in part by Mrs. E. M. Rouze.)
Andrews, a charter member of the Chase County Historical Society in 1938, provided
information on Lamar. His parents came to Chase County in 1886 and settled in the
Lamar community. When they arrived there was a small village which had a general
store owned by Hec Pairan, that carried a limited stock of goods, a flour and feed store
owned by Dave Kingery and a blacksmith shop owned by Ike Nicholson.
Mr. Pairan told Harry Andrews' father about life in the community. He said that George Hill, a nearby homesteader, made weekly trips to Haigler after freight for his and Mr. Kingery's stores. He said that they were trying to establish a Post Office at his store with a mail route that could be conducted by George Hill, and would supply the community with mail once a week. He hoped this would happen to establish an up-to-date town and community.
Mr. Pairon said that one obstacle to the plan was Mr. A. S. Allen, who lived in a large frame house, painted white with a red roof, which was considered a distinctive landmark in the community, and gave Mr. Allen some status. Mr. Allen insisted that the town and Post Office be named Allentown, and that he would consist to act as Post Master and would also supply the mail carrier. Mr. Pairon wanted the Post Office at his store. He also wanted to be Post Master and believed that George Hill should be the carrier. Above all, he believed that the town should be named Lenox, not Allendale.
The town was named Lenox, and a celebration was held to commemorate the occasion. A Post Office was established at Lenox on November 23, 1886. Soon an additional store was opened, and also a livery barn, lumber yard and implement store. A great future was predicted for the town. However, in less than one year the Lincoln Land Company purchased a secion of land tow miles east of Lenox and started another town named Lamar. Every business in Lenox moved to Lamar, leaving Mr. Allen and his home sitting alone on the prairie.
The Post Office was moved to Lamar on October 31, 1887. At one time Lamar had three general stores, two hardware stores, two drugstores, a bank, hotel, restaurant, two livery barns, lumber yard, two implement stores and two newspapers. It is claimed that they had the county's first resident physician, Dr. Holtzclaw.
email Linda Banks at: FlorenceEm@AOL.com
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