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Nebraska...Our Towns

Dakota City

Dakota County

Dakota City Harnes Shop, 1880 Frank and Will Broyhill
The Dakota County Courthouse built in 1940 with an addition in 1975.

One of Nebraska's oldest communities, the site of Dakota City, was first visited by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which reached the mouth of Omaha Creek on August 16, 1804. A town was not advanced until the location was designated as county seat shortly after Dakota County was established in 1855. A town site was platted the following year. J.D.M.Crockwell, an agent for the Dakota City Land Company formed by Augustus Kountze, chose the name in honor of the Dacotah (Sioux) Indians.

The original plat called for a town two-miles wide from east to west, with its eastern end abutting the Missouri River. Broadway was to be 150 feet wide with plans for the construction of a "center canal" which could bring barges directly into the town. Showing remarkable growth, Dakota City was incorporated on April 5, 1858.

Today our town contains 21 miles of streets, of which nine miles are hard-surfaced. Dakota City is adjacent to the four-lane highways of 77 & 20, making it only minutes away from Sioux City, and Iowa's newest and largest shopping center, Southern Hills Mall.

Recreation focuses on the river, which is readily accessible in Cotton Wood Cove Park. There are 16 acres of land per 1,000 population devoted to parks, playgrounds, athletic fields and courts.

Schools, with a long tradition of growth, reflected the need for reorganization in the 1960s. At that time a K-4 elementary unit was retained in Dakota City, with all other grades attending classes in South Sioux City.

A rich history is found in our churches. The first Lutheran Church in Nebraska was built in Dakota City in 1860. The total cost of $2,000 was used almost entirely for material as the labor to construct it was donated. This building also housed the territorial court for a number of years, and is now preserved an an historic landmark. In 1897 the present Methodist Church was dedicated. Several additions were added in 1966.

The fifth oldest Masonic Lodge in the state is located at Dakota City. The present hall was constructed about 1915.

A variety of transportation systems serve the area. River traffic, instrumental in the establishment of the town, is still active. Dakota City and the Siouxland area are the northern-most point of navigation on the Missouri, which is open eight months each year. Rail lines of the Burlington Northern and Chicago & North Western Railroads both serve the city, with 12 freight trains daily. More than 200 motor freight carriers also serve the town. Interstate 29, just four miles from Dakota City, provides fast access to Siouxland's Class A, all-weather airport, with non-stop service to major cities nationwide.

Dakota City, with a population of 1,440, is the second-largest city in Dakota County. It has a mayor/council form of government and employs a city administrator.

Dakota City's employment is highly industrialized. The corporate headquarters of IBP, the nation's largest meat processor, is located here. The company operates one of the world's newest and largest chrome hide tanneries at this location.

The Broyhill Company, also in Dakota City, is one of the largest manufacturers of spraying equipment for use by agriculture, golf courses, and home owners. It also produces a unique refuse vehicle for parks and recreation departments.

Dakota City's library contains 7,700 volumes, with an annual circulation of 5,100 titles. Library activities include children's story hour, a summer reading program, and a summer film series.

The Hanson-Greenleaf American Legion Post was chartered in 1963, and a legion hall was built by veterans of the Dakota City area in 1972.

Dakota City is part of the rapidly growing Siouxland area and is an active participant in the continued commercial and industrial expansion of this region.

By Shirley Sides, Box 13, Dakota City, NE 68731. Photos compliments of Craig Broyhill.

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL: History of Dakota City, by Warner; Dakota City Centennial Book, 1958; Dakota City's 125th Anniversary, 1983; a promotional VHS Video, "Dakota City 1858-1989, Craig Broyhill.