Historical Details

Lusk History by Isabel Willson

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 02/16/1950


Why is our town named Lusk?

For good reasons.

Its existence had its beginning at the time of the building of the railroad through here in 1885-1886. The railroad was then called the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley railroad, which is now the Chicago & Northwestern. They gave it the name of Lusk in honor of their contractor, Mr. Frank Lusk, and his mother, Mrs. Cornelia Lusk, who donated the land needed for building the road. They also gave much help to the laying out of the town, its main street, straight and parallel streets as required, also the cross streets were developed in order, forming equal blocks, and many such sensible matters affecting a new town, Frank Lusk saw to. In many ways they both showed a deep interest in the growth of this namesake town. In fact, the Lusks proved themselves worthy of this honor during those first years of its existence. It was their home at that time and Mrs. Lusk with her mother, Mrs. Stillman, remained here the rest of their lives.

At first the little cabin home played its part, but soon was replaced by a two-story brick house, very modern for the times, and furnished with many articles of fine artistic beauty, pictures, rugs, furniture, elegant silver and china accessories, many brought from the earlier trips to Europe by Mrs. Lusk. She also at once helped to develop church and school advantages, and other important matters of good town life.

In 1912 Mrs. Lusk died and in the present year, 1950, it is quite wonderful to look back on the town as it was so long ago.

Her nice, modest, but really beautiful little home at the corner of Fourth and Main streets has developed into the handsome Mortuary buildings, remodeled and added to by Mr. George Earl Peet, present owner, and with its excellent service, ideal chapel, its organ and other appointments, relieves much of the trials at our time of need . . .and let me say that the original spirit of a fine genuineness still prevails at this corner of the town, as in its former tenant, Mrs. Lusk.

This modern spirit is everywhere to be seen. The general merchandise of Mr. Harry Snyder time, when outgrown, became the large block now housing the Midwest Hardware Store, and the Masonic Hall upstairs, surrounded by some of our best business offices.

Also the Ranger Hotel, with its elevator and splendid management in all ways - none better in the State. The theatre, good school buildings, Courthouse and churches and its lovely streets and homes, the nice Town Park in its bower of trees and bushes. Everything!

Now all the Lusk family are dead. Much of what they did here has been forgotten-but let us try to remember, always, those fine, able, adventurous, splendid people, the Lusk family, who nobly and happily did so much at the start of this, our Town of Lusk!

Before the advent of the railroad, some mining had been done at the Silver Cliff Hill west of Lusk. Four years' work there had developed quite a bit of tunneling and shaft installing. Considerable mineral deposits, showing copper, silver and gold, were found. It looked "promising," and was taken up by Eastern parties. Soon, however, some financial upset back in New York, or whereever those backers lived, when payday came, and no money for the miners' work, everything stopped, the mine shut down, and grass grew over the mouth of the tunnel.

Quite a number of years passed in idleness at Silver Cliff. Then came Mr. Edward Lorimer, who reopened the mine and investigated the minerals found there. Mrs. Lorimer and daughter, Miss Mary, accompanied him, and they made a delightful tiny home near the top of the steep hill, which soon became a definite retreat for a lot of us to enjoy their company, attend their card parties, and outdoor pleasures in the summertime. However, like the summer, and so many other happy things, it did not last long enough to suit us. The whole business fell, through no fault of the Lorimers, and it was a real grief to lose them. My family at every Christmas still receives cards from them, which recalls the delightful memory of the fine Lorimer family and their efforts to increase the values and business affairs of our Lusk town.

Now the mine is abandoned. Anyway, it is close to our western border, and all that land - apart from its golf course - is, in every direction, swarming with thoughts of ambition, memories of old deer trails, the Indian rings, pony express, stage holdups and cattle roundups with its host of cowboys with their "Hoop-La's."

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Snyder, Harry (06/24/1861 - 11/23/1916) View Record
Obituary Willson, Isabel (09/20/1865 - 09/19/1955) View Record
Obituary Lusk, Cornelia (11/17/1832 - 04/22/1921) View Record
Obituary Lusk, Frank (04/27/1857 - 08/06/1930) View Record