Kearney in Buffalo County, Nebraska — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Kearney Cotton Mill
In the late 1880's, Kearney business leaders envisioned the city as a major manufacturing center. The Kearney Cotton Mill was among the many enterprises launched as part of this venture, which included paper, woolen, and oatmeal mills; plow and canning factories; brick works and machine shops. The economic depression of the early 1890's, however, ended most of these businesses.
The Kearney Cotton Mill was financed in part by a Massachusetts firm. Upon its completion in 1892 the mill was the largest manufacturing plant in Nebraska. The two-story brick structure cost over $400,000 to construct. Raw cotton was shipped from the South by barge and railroad. At peak efficiency the mill employed about 450 workers and produced 26,000 yards of unbleached muslin daily, some of which was shipped to such faraway places as the Orient.
In 1901 the plant was closed due to economic pressures, including high freight rates and labor costs. During its existence the mill never operated at a profit. The building stood vacant until the Midway Amusement Park was established in the spring of 1920. A swimming pool was constructed in the basement of the plant and the main building was used as a dance pavilion. On March 18, 1922, the mill and park facilities were destroyed by fire.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Nebraska State Historical Society marker series.
Location. 40° 41.924′ N, 99° 8.325′ W. Marker is in Kearney, Nebraska, in Buffalo County. Marker is on U.S. 30 0.2 miles east of 46th Avenue, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is located on the south side of U.S. 30, near a farm access dirt road. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4614 24th Road, Kearney NE 68845, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Watson Ranch (approx. 1.3 miles away); Buffalo County’s Lincoln Highway Seedling Mile (approx. 1.8 miles away); Hostetler Amphitheatre (approx. 2.2 miles away); Kearney State College Memorial Carillon Tower (approx. 2.3 miles away); University of Nebraska at Kearney (approx. 2.3 miles away); Baldwin Engine 481 (approx. 2.6 miles away); Loup River Freighter Hotel (approx. 2.6 miles away); German Baptist Church of the Brethren (approx. 2.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kearney.
Also see . . .
1. Kearney Cotton Mill.
The ultimate failure of the Kearney cotton mill was due not only to unfavorable agricultural and business conditions but to several other factors: (1) the distance from raw materials and coal (2) distance from markets for the finished product, and (3) the lack of dependable local labor. As author Jenkins observed, Nebraskans "preferred the freedom of the farm to the confinement of the mill." (Submitted on March 9, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Kearney Nebraska History.
Kearney began a period of rapid growth increasing from 245 residents in 1873 to well over 10,000 in the late 1880's. Optimistic residents sought to have the nation's capitol moved to Kearney from Washington, DC and others raised a quarter million dollars to finance the construction of a huge cotton mill. (Submitted on March 9, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. Kearney, Buffalo County.
By 1890 Kearney had the first all-electric street railway system in Nebraska and the first west of the Mississippi River (except St.Louis), plus electricity for its homes, streets, churches, and industry. Impressive business and public buildings were built, including a five-story opera house and a city hall with clock tower. A unique factory for this city on the plains was a cotton mill that operated for ten years, manufacturing cotton sheeting. (Submitted on March 9, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 12, 2017. This page originally submitted on March 9, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 151 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on March 9, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.