Historical Details

Node, Wyoming

Courtesy of Niobrara Historical Brevity, 07/01/1986

From "Niobrara Historical Brevity" published by the
Niobrara Historical Society, in observance of the Lusk Centennial 1886-1986

Node, Wyoming is located nine miles east of Lusk on Highway 20. When Node first became a town is somewhat of a question. July 1919 was the date of the first post office. The first postmaster was Peter Hansen, his homestead house being his place of business. The post office was later moved to the C. C. DeHoff store. Mr. DeHoff became the postmaster in 1913 and remained until 1922.

Several stores came into being to service the homesteaders and the Tom Bell ranch. The Bell Ranch was probably the largest ranch around at that time. The brand which was a knot was where the name Node (which meant knot) came from.

Around 1915 there were several stores including the DeHoff grocery, Burnaugh grocery, the Stuart Lumber Company, a café and a pool hall, the Lutheran Church which is now the Lutheran Church of Lusk, the Congregational Church which is now the building that was the Node school house for many years. It is still used for a community building and for Sunday school. A. A. McCoy bought the store and became postmaster in 1922 and was there until 1945. At that time it was taken over by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Schulte. The post office and store changed hands again to Pete and Mary German in 1956. Mary is still postmaster in 1986.

In 1915 a tornado came through Node and killed a child and injured another one.

At the time that Carl Bruch came in 1910, there was even a bar in the town of Node. As to the population - there were around 50 people.

Carl Bruch tells of unloading a new tractor that was shipped in on the railroad. This was in 1918. A lot of building material and oilfield equipment was hauled in at this time because of the Lance Creek oil boom.

There was a railroad storage at Node for coal, salt and feed. Also a good sized stock yard and a chute for loading livestock.

The Node Cemetery is located about a mile south of Node on land given by Herbert Sabin.

In 1986 Node has a population of three.

The Lusk Herald
July 9, 1986
Node Post Office started in 1910

At first sight one would never imagine that the town of Node was once one of the larger establishments in eastern Niobrara county. Node is still a community center and mail distributing point.

The complete history of Node could not be expressed in a whole book, but in this brief article we have outlined some of the bright points of Node's past.

There is no way of telling exactly when Node was founded, but it was July, 1910, that the first post office was started in the Pete Hansen homestead building, with Peter Hansen as postmaster. This was when Niobrara was still a part of Converse County.

In 1911, Hansen had Richard Grey, a surveyor from Lusk, survey a townsite at Node. The lots were sold and businesses established to supply the homesteaders and the Bell ranch, one of the biggest ranches in Niobrara county at that time. The brand of this ranch was the node (meaning knot) and was the source of the town of Node's name.

Node had an estimated population of 50 residents at that time and there was family on nearly every half section of land trying to prove up on their homestead and make a living for their families.

As time went by more and more stores came into being on the main street of Node, which runs north and south between what is now Pete and Mary Germann's post office and Pete's shop. At that time, Highway 20 turned south at the Node School House and ran north and south past the R.S. Bell and the Tom Pfister ranches and then east to Van Tassell.

The railroad came through in 1886. The first depot was a railroad car, later a tool shed was moved up to be used for the depot. If there were passengers they flagged the train down. If not, they hung the mail sack on a special pole and when the baggage or mail car went by, they threw one mail sack out on the ground and "picked" the outgoing mail sack off of the metal pole.

The railroad had stockyards, storage sheds for coal, salt, etc. and two section houses on the north side of the track for the railroad foreman and his family to live in. There were two railroad cars where the section hands lived.

Many immigrant families arrived at the Node station with their belongings to settle the prairies. They shipped thousands of head of cattle and lambs, also horses, wool, turkeys and cream out of Node and shipped corn, hay, machinery, lumber, and coal back into Node. Carl Bruch tells of unloading a new Square Turn tractor in 1918 off of the train.

In going through the Van Tassell Pioneer News paper, and reading the advertisements and the Node news items starting with 1914, these businesses were mentioned over the years: The New Node Cash Store; R.S. Bell; H.C. Snyder Co. Clothing store, Chriss Joss operator; J.L. Hall Lumber, Node and Lusk, successors to A.P. Stewart Lumber; Node School District No. 5; Al Mueller Blacksmith Shop; Pool Hall, C.J. Housh; Laundry, Mrs. A.J. Mueller, from her home; C.C. DeHoff Auto Livery, Car for hire; Dressmaker, Laura Densborn; Restaurant, Mrs. Mueller; Dance Hall, Mr. Burnaugh; Hjortholm Restaurant; Depot; Farmer Union, storage building by R.R. for large items; I.M. Jones Grocery, burned 1921; Barber chair, pool hall, meals, saloon and dance hall, Jim Todd; Stockyards; Post office; Lutheran church; Congregational Church; Node Telephone Company; Burnaugh Grocery and general store; DeHoff and Son Grocery, general store, post office; Stuart Lumber Company (on this site is the present store and post office).

A. A. McCoy bought the store and became postmaster in 1922 until 1945 when Joseph and Anna Schulte bought and ran it until 1951 when Pete and Mary Germann bought it and Mary Germann is still the postmistress. Node's St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized on November 9, 1913. the first officers were H.P. Titze, F.M. Redmer and J. Siemsen. The newly organized congregation at once began to build a house of worship which was dedicated to the service of the Triune God by Pastor Leimer, May 17, 1914.

The congregational Church started having services in the Prairie Bell School in 1911 and in the old Node school in Oct. 1912. In 1913 a church was organized in the hope and purpose of uniting Prairie Bell and Node Sunday School into one church organization. A church was built in Node and dedicated in April 1914. the first officers of the church were: Calvin C. DeHoff, Chester C. Quigley, --- Christensen, (some text is hidden by the book binding) Peter Hansen, Mrs. Ernestine Sabin, Herbert Sabin, Mr. C. M. Dea---, Pastors S. Burman Long and George Dalzel.

The Node Booster Club was organized in 1914. Pres. Joe Doman, sec. treas. Earl Burnaugh, executive committee, Peter Hansen, --- DeHoff, Maude Todd and Carl Dean, John Ohleen.

A baseball team was organized and according to Fred Hansen, was the best in the county. They played games with Van Tassell, Kirtley and other rural communities. Some of the star players on the Node team were Lee Thompson, Tex Olds, Fred Hansen, Harry Cornell and Archie Voorhees. A literary social Homemakers Club was the first organization started in Node and is the oldest Homemaker Club in the county.

The Lusk Herald
July 9, 1986
Longtime resident recalled: TORNADO RAVAGED NODE IN 1915

By Pat Brewster Eikenberry

An experience that is still very vivid in the mind of 80-year-old Fred Hansen is surviving the tornado of Friday, June 11, 1915

The tornado raised great havoc skirting the (east?) edge of the town of Node, killing a small boy, injuring several, and tearing a residence and the section house to kindling wood.

Fred recalls, "I was working at the time for Harry Gemmill, section foreman for Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Company, at Node. The Gemmills had been to Chadron and had returned to their home in the section house after visiting with me.

The Gemmill's two older children, little five-year-old 'Buster' who I used to hold and 3 year-old Hazel had been put to bed upstairs. As the tornado hit the section house, Harry was attempting to go after the older children and Mrs. Gemmill was standing in front of the kitchen range with the baby in her arms.

After it was all over Harry confided in me the last thing he remembered was Buster and Hazel calling to him. The entire family was thrown from the house and little Buster was killed instantly with a nail driven into his forehead.

I saw the section house go up - it flew apart just like a haystack. I ran to the poolhall where some of Tom Bell's cowboys were enjoying the evening - tipping a few and playing cards - and attempted to make them understand what had happened.

I then notified Amend Thurston and Iver Lingwood who were living in a railroad car close by. I believe it was Amend who was with us when we found Harry among some railroad ties. The wind had stripped him of his clothes.

"There was a fence between us and Harry and the rail ties. The wind blew me through the fence catching my overalls and tearing them off.

"One of the cowboys found the little girl who was badly bruised and cut and had her leg broken near the hip. Mrs. Gemmill was found in a pasture still clutching the baby like she was when the tornado hit. Little Buster was dead when he was found.

"The little girl (Hazel) was taken to a restaurant where she was taken care of by women of the community. At that time there was a doctor in Lusk and Jim Shaw who happened to be in Node left on horseback during the driving wind, rain and hail to fetch him. At the the old Bump place now owned by Noal Larson the water was so deep he had to get off his horse, hang on to the horse's tail and be pulled to the other side.

"Doc Stevens was out of town and so was the section boss down at the rail yard. So, Shaw and Happy Hartwell, an attorney, went to the section house, broke open the tool house and took a rail hand cart for the trip back to Node. Enroute they picked up Doc (Carlton) Paisley, a veterinarian.

"Doc Paisley set the broken bone, and later little Hazel was taken to Douglas by train where she was examined by a medical doctor who said she was in fine shape.

"Some of the cowboys were opposed to a 'horse doctor' treating the girl, but the women ran them off.

"The John Ohlsen family had a new home that went to pieces like the section house. Ten-year-old Frances (now Mrs. Bob Blackmore of Casper) was injured the worst. Riba, who was a baby, was found still lying on her mattress down by the railroad track. The tornado had picked her and the mattress up out of her crib and carried her away. When found by her father she was laying there with a piece of glass on her head, by unharmed as I recall. The Ohlsens had five children and Harlan and Henry who were sleeping in a double bed were swept up by the tornado and landed not far from where their parents had landed in a puddle of water. A chimney was on top of the boys."

Harlan is now in Cheyenne. Henry in California. Riba who is now Mrs. Dick Loyd lives in Medicine Bow, and Ethel who also went through the tornado is living in Casper. She is the window of Dr. Ronnie Marade. After the tornado the entire Ohlsen family stayed in a granary at the Peter Hansen homestead. Hansens were the parents of Fred.

Mr. Hansen says he lost track of the Gemmill family after the tornado, but has been told they moved to New York state. On Memorial Day he still decorates the grave of Wilber, "Little Buster," who is buried in the Lusk Cemetery. "I hope some day I will hear from some of the Gemmill family and perhaps they will want to visit the grave of Buster," he said.

Images & Attachments

This picture shows one building in Node, possibly the post office, believed to be in 1916. The picture is signed C. C. Dehoff, who had an auto livery in Node with a "car for hire."
Fourth of July Celebration, downtown Node, 1916.

Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Cornell, Harry (08/25/1894 - 11/05/1964) View Record
Obituary Germann, Mary (05/16/1923 - 12/30/1998) View Record
Obituary Hansen, Harry (07/16/1939 - 06/10/1960) View Record
Obituary Sabin, Herbert (08/31/1891 - 02/15/1982) View Record
Obituary Voorhees, Archie (01/28/1885 - 11/23/1965) View Record
Obituary Dean, Carl (03/08/1937 - 11/19/1950) View Record
Obituary Sabin, Ernestine (10/31/1863 - 04/13/1949) View Record
Obituary Dean, Carl (12/20/1885 - 10/28/1947) View Record
Obituary Larson, Noal (08/09/1919 - 09/25/2008) View Record
Obituary Todd, Maude (11/30/-0001 - 05/08/1953) View Record
Obituary Hansen, Peter (11/30/1860 - 07/03/1938) View Record
Historical Node Homemakers Club View Record