Arlington Township, Washington County, Nebraska

This subdivision of Washington County is in the extreme southwestern portion of the county. It is bounded on the west by Dodge County, on the north by Fontanelle and Lincoln Townships, on the east by Richland Township and on the south by Douglas County.

Two branches of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway system now pass through this township with stations at Arlington and Bowen. The western boundary line of the township is made by the meanderings of the crooked Elkhorn River.

The population of this township for three decades has been: In 1890 it was 1,167: in 1900 it was 1.378, and in 1910 the Federal census gave the township and Village of Arlington as having a population of 1,380.

This is a splendid farming region and the fields yield their annual crops of wheat, corn and grasses to the enrichment of the farm owners. The railway facilities are excellent and the great city of Omaha within an hour or two ride by steam cars or automobile. The enterprising City of Arlington of which later account will be had, affords a most satisfactory marketing point for all ordinary merchandise. This township is also the home of the celebrated Marshall Brothers Nursery, see account of it within this chapter also.

Village of Arlington

Arlington is situated in the extreme southwestern corner of Washington County in sections 12 and 13, of Congressional township 17, range 9. It was platted by Sioux City & Pacific Railway Company in 1869; the company purchased 440 acres for town site purposes. It is on the Elkhorn River and is a station on the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad (now a part of the great Chicago & Northwestern Railroad system). Arlington is a junction point, one branch running to Missouri Valley, Iowa, and the other to Omaha, while the main line runs to Fremont and on to the northwest. It has a population of about eight hundred and is an incorporated village, of which the present postmaster, J. C. Badger is -village clerk. It is beautifully situated on high charming uplands, with a rural landscape seldom found anywhere. Its schools, churches, lodges and banks are mentioned in special chapters in this work, covering those of the entire county, hence need not further be referred to in this connection.

Arlington was first known as Bell Creek and continued as such until early in 1882 when the name of the post office and village was changed to its present name.

The first improvement on the town plat was effected the same year the railway went through the place, and the depot was erected. Samuel A. Frances, one of the early settlers of Fontanelle and John Waynick of Chariton, Iowa, built two residences and opened a lumber yard. A grain warehouse was built by L. H. Jones; a blacksmith shop by John Butler; and E. K. Gilbert opened a shoe shop in 1872. Mrs. Kate Parker taught the first school. A fine school building was erected in the fall of 1876, at a cost of $5,000, and in 1877 a Methodist Episcopal Church was built.

Municipal History

High School, Arlington

The Village of Arlington was incorporated April 10, 1882, and the first village officers were: John A. Unthank, chairman; W. J. Crane, clerk; the trustees were: J. A. Unthank, B. Conway, J. C. Blackburn, William D. Badger, N. Foster.

The following have served the village as chairmen of the board to the present date: John A. Unthank, William D. Badger, L. C. Weber, Peter Hammang, W. H. Whitney, A. B. Batson, H. W. Schoettger, J. C. Blackburn. Fred Echtenkamp, S. G. Glover, J. C. Badger, W. A. Reckmeyer, O. S. Roberts, H. C. Rurup, C. G. Marshall, P. L. Cady.

The present (1920) officers of the village are: P. L. Cady, chairman; J. C. Badger, clerk; G. I. Pfeiffer, treasurer; F. Wolf, street commissioner, marshal, and water commissioner.

The village has an indebtedness of $12,500 in outstanding bonds. The water works cost the taxpayers of the village quite an amount, but already the persons who opposed the original proposition are convinced it was but the part of good business judgment to issue such bonds. The water plant was installed in 1906.

There are two wells-one 30 feet and one 214 feet, from which most excellent water is obtained and in endless quantity. The water is pumped by means of gas and oil engines.

The village is lighted by the Platte Valley Power Company, a private institution.

The old frame school building is the property of the village and it stands in the park and is used as a Town Hall.

Early Factors of the Place

A newspaper account of Bell Creek (now Arlington) in 1876 said: "In 1875 the Masons organized a lodge, Bender & Chapman having dissolved, Mr. Chapman starting in business for himself in the same line. W. J. Crane resigned his position of station agent, closed out a stock of goods bought of Mr. Chapman, in the following spring, and went into general insurance business, real estate and collections. A public school building was contracted for that year to cost $5,000. Doctor Elwood, a physician, commenced his practice in Bell Creek that year as a partner of Doctor Glover."

Business and Professional Interests, 1920

In the summer of 1920 the business and professional interests of Arlington consisted of the following:

Auto garages, Walter Echtenkamp, Fred Menking, and others in the same line.
Banking, The First National and Arlington State Bank.
Bakery, Chris Legband.
Barbers, Messrs. Dickson and Melvord.
Drugs, D. C. Weber, Leo Snyder.
Elevator, Nye, Schneider, Fowler Co., Farmers' Co-operative Co., and O. C. Roberts.
Brickyard, Utterback Bros.
Furniture, Reckmeyer Co.
Hotel, Ed Ludwig.
Hardware, John Jackerot and the Reckmeyer Hardware Co.
Harness, J. R. Grimes.
Ice dealer, Schmehl Brothers.
Lumber, Farmers Grain & Lumber Co.
Livery, L. C. Gaines.
Meats, E. S. Newell.
Opera House, Connected with the Odd Fellows Building.
Stock Dealers, J. Newcomb and Mr. Newell.
Variety Store, Mrs. Vail.
Implements, J. C. Blackburn. C. W. Breuing.
General Merchandise, Fred Weber, P. Z. Wilson.
Nursery, Marshall Brothers.
Stock Remedy Manufacturing Company, E. O. Burroughs, prop.
Repair and Machine Shop, W. G. Pfeiffer.
Newspaper, The Review-Herald.
Veterinary Surgeon, Doctor Cady.
Physicians, Davies & Newcomb, firm.
Dentist, Dr. L. M. Peterson.

The schoolhouse is a large two-story brick building, but to it must soon be added one as large in order to accommodate the pupils. The beautiful village park contains a large city block of land and the same has its shade trees and drinking fountain, as well as the Town Hall which was made out of the old school building. It is a frame structure.

Marshall's Nurseries

The Arlington Nurseries were started the spring of 1887 by Chester C. Marshall, and George A. Marshall, the first planting being done on their farm two miles east of Arlington. These boys came from Ohio a few years earlier, and the open prairies of Washington County and eastern Nebraska impressed them as a great field for the sale of nursery products. The wide variation in native forest trees and wild fruits growing along the streams, as well as the generous numbers of kinds and varieties of trees, fruits, and plants set by early settlers, indicated that eastern Nebraska was adapted to horticulture in its several branches. To supply hardy trees and plants to Washington County home owners and those of adjoining counties was the aim of the originators. They organized on the partnership plan under the name of "Marshall Brothers." The business grew steadily from the beginning and within a few years the demand was such that the local part of the business no longer predominated, but goods were shipped to all nearby counties, the territory reaching out further from year to year until at the present time this company enjoys a large trade not only in practically every part of Nebraska, but in many of the west central states.

In 1890 H. W. Marshall was added to the firm and in 1907 a fourth brother, A. C. Marshall also joined the partnership. In 1916 the business was incorporated, and is now operating under the corporate name of "Marshall's Nurseries," the Marshall family retaining the larger part of the stock and the general management. The present officers are G. A. Marshall, president: C. C. Marshall, vice president; C. G. Marshall, secretary; H. W. Marshall, treasurer.

Twelve to fifteen trained nurserymen are employed throughout the year, and fifteen to thirty-five additional men are needed during the digging and shipping periods in fall and spring. About fifty salesmen are employed in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois.

The natural development of Nebraska and the central west, and the building of thousands of comfortable and modern homes, has created a demand for much ornamental stock, and the company seeing the need of a landscape department, whereby the home owner could have scientific advice and aid in the planning of his home grounds, have instituted same, with C. W. Andrews as head architect. While this department is comparatively new, still the demand along this line is such that from 20 to 30 per cent of the entire business is handled through this channel.

A block of land is always retained strictly for experimental purposes, where new promising varieties are thoroughly tested out before being offered to the customers.

The elevation and soil at Arlington seem particularly adapted to the propagation and growing of nursery stock, the soil being of the loose type, which produces heavy fibrous root systems, and solid, well-ripened top growth, which means success in transplanting and renders the stock grown here an advertisement in itself.

Nebraska AHGP

History of Dodge and Washington Counties, Nebraska, Rev. William H. Buss and Thomas T. Osterman, Volume 1, The American Historical Society, Chicago, 1921.

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