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History

The Village of Lawrence was named for the wife of a railroad official. The Village was not surveyed and plotted until after 1886 when the first railroad, the Nebraska and Colorado, came through. They built the depot and the railroad company under the name of Lincoln Land Company.

The Village of Lawrence was incorporated in 1890 and the articles of incorporation were filed at Nelson, the county seat, on July 15, 1890.

At this time the population was around 200. There were two grain elevators, a bank, lumberyard, three general merchandise stores, two hardware stores, a drugstore, blacksmith shop, and two livery barns. At one time the Village was near 500 residents.

St. Stephen and Community: (2.5 south of Lawrence)
Land speculators (sellers) for the railroads traveled throughout Europe and the eastern United States trying to entice people to settle along their railroads in Nebraska. In Germany and in German settlements in the U.S. they promoted what is now St. Stephen to the German Catholics. For the German Lutherans, they promoted an area just west and what is now Rosemont.

The Catholic settlers found St. Stephen situated near a creek for water and wood and the settlement started to grow along with a community center, church and school. Sometime between April and October of 1875 a post office was established. The church was organized in 1875 with the first service in 1876. As a town, St. Stephen began to decline when the railroads bypassed it and went through Lawrence. As a result some of the businessmen moved to Lawrence.

Nuckolls County Organized
According to the 1925 edition of Lillian Fitzpatrick’s Nebraska Place Names, Nuckolls County was organized on June 27, 1871 and named in honor of Stephen Friel Nuckolls, a “prominent pioneer”. www.nuckollscounty.ne.gov/

Interesting Facts

Lawrence Opera House: (National Register Site – listed 1988)
Constructed by Henry Hoeueke in 1901, the two-story brick building, located in Lawrence, had retail space on the first floor and the opera house interior, but the stage has been removed. Later known as McCauley’s Hall, the Opera House held performances like “Rip Van Winkle” and the “Ten Nights in Barroom”. Currently houses Mick’s TV and Appliances.

Hamburger Paper Company
(March 16, 1950, Lawrence Locomotive)
The Nuckolls county town of Lawrence was no more than 500 population and the place of origin annually of about 5,000,000 hamburgers.

All the ground meat that went into the jumbo hamburger diet of the U.S. didn’t come from Lawrence, but the mold in which bun size hamburgers were made was from Lawrence.

W. D. McCauley, owner of McCauley and Company General Store conducted the Hamburger Paper Company as a sideline. The paper company made the round oily perforated papers that were a familiar sight to those who eat hamburgers at lunch counters. The paper was cut by an Omaha firm and at Lawrence it was packaged and shipped to users.