Friday, April 29, 2016

Winside: The Place to Be

The town of Winside, Nebraska got it's name because of a dispute with the railroad over where to run the tracks. Owner of 800 acres located at Northside, Nebraska, H. N. Moore wanted the tracks to come to his town, already established about 3 1/2 miles from the present location of Winside. Despite his influence and the efforts of other Northside citizens, the railroad officials decided the land around Northside was too hilly and situated too far from Wayne. They wanted to space towns every eight miles along the track, so they chose a lower, flatter location that filled that bill.1
Of course, landowners at that site, particularly, Dr. R. B. Crawford, had been lobbying to bring the railroad there. A legal dispute ensued, and the railroad compromised with the Northside folks by agreeing to move some of the businesses to the new site, businesses Northside citizens had built in anticipation of the trade the railroad would bring. The new town was platted and recorded on 14 June 1886. Dr. Crawford, said it would "be called 'Winside' because it was bound to win and would gradually kill off the old town of Northside."2
About thirty years after this dispute, my grandparents, Clint and Mary Troutman, moved their family to Wayne County, about ten miles southwest of Wayne, the county seat, and eight miles southeast of Winside. The town was well established by then, the wide main street a pleasing feature. In addition to many businesses, the town boasted its own salaried baseball team, a city band, a volunteer fire department, a newspaper (The Winside Tribune), a water system, a telephone company, a public library, a farmer’s union cooperative, and so on.3 A light plant brought electricity, and the first lights turned on in the Fleer Brothers store in 1912.4 Electric streetlights replaced gasoline lanterns by 1915.5 By 1920, Winside’s population peaked at 488 people.6
Living on a farm some distance away, my grandparents experienced none of the amenities found in Winside, however—no indoor plumbing, no electricity, no central heating, and so on. Only when they drove to town for supplies could they experience such modernities. About 1924 when they moved a mile and a half north of Winside, they began to benefit from town life. They moved so the children could go to high school. That farm was my dad’s favorite place of all they had lived.7 It was the place I remember as my grandparents’ farm.

1 F. M. Jones and F. J. Dimmel, The History of Winside, Nebraska: Northside, Railroad, Growth and Development—Winside, Settlement and Growth to the Present (N. p.: n.p., 1942), pp. 8-9.
2 Ibid, pp. 9- 10.
3 Ibid., 64-82.
4 Ibid., pp. 74-75.
5 Ibid, pp. 74.
6 Ibid., p. 249.
7 Verne Troutman, “Grandpa Verne’s Story,” edited by Z. T. Noble, personal computer files,  documents, “Dad’s Story2.”

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