MAYWOOD -- FRONTIER COUNTY
Maywood was originally called "Laird," but the name was changed since there was another Laird on the mainline of the railroad in Colorado. A meeting was held in 1881 at Isreal Wood's house, and the group decided on the name "Maywood," for Wood's daughter May.
In 1888 Maywood's original town consisted of a post office, a store, a saloon, and three houses. In 1890 the Nebraska State Gazetteer & Business Directory listed Maywood as..."a flourishing village in the northwest part of Frontier County with a population of 100, [with a full line of businesses and shops.] Land sold for $10 to $50 an acre."
The school and churches were started early. In 1887 Methodist services were held in the schoolhouse. A church was built in 1894. The Christian Church organized classes in 1907, with the church built the next year. Both buildings have been enlarged and remodeled to meet current needs of their congregations.
School was first held in a dugout north of the present town site in 1886. A frame three-room structure was built north of the Methodist Church in 1888 and a three-story brick school was built in 1910. In 1964 a new elementary building was added and after consolidating with Stockville and Wellfleet, a brick high school was built. Enrollment is 190, with buses traveling over 640 miles a day. Back in 1896 there was a principal and one teacher; in 1987 the staff included 25 certified teachers.
A weekly newspaper, "The Maywood Eagle," was started in 1891 with Newton Bogue as owner and editor. It was the a source of local communications: family gatherings and events as well as school and church activities and national news. It changed hands in 1910 but continued to be an important part of the community. It was sold to out-of-town owners in 1948.
A dam and mill were built in 1889. Flour was sold in North Platte and McCook as well as to nearby towns. The "lake" formed by the mill pond was an important part of Maywood's business and social activities. Fishing was enjoyed by young and old. In winter, ice was cut and stored to be used in the heat of the summer. An item from the "Eagle" in 1893 stated,..."skating has been all the rage on Lake Maywood, which is one of the finest skating ponds in the state...professional and amateurs alike enjoy the smooth surface..." A severe storm in 1947 put an end to all that, as creeks dumped an overflow of water into the lake which then took out the old cement dam.
Maywood had a large two-story hotel across the street from the train depot, with a large dining room and comfortably furnished lobby. It was the favorite gathering place for local people as well as travelers. According to the local paper, traveling salesmen called it "..a home away from home."
The Southwest Nebraska District Fair was started in Maywood in 1915 and held annually for many years with much success. Buildings, a grandstand, and race track were built. A $1,000 purse brought in some of the best race horses in the state. Entertainment included band concerts, movies, ball games, tractor pulls, boat races, foot-races, concessions, merry-go-round and such. Over the years, new events were added and building space doubled. There were balloon ascensions, fireworks, and an airplane show and rides, plays and vaudeville shows. The fair came to an end in 1923. All buildings were auctioned, with only the small ticket office remaining. It has been restored and moved to a small park on Main Street.
The Maywood Trail-Ride started in 1960 with 86 mounts. Held annually until 1977, the event drew over 1,500 horses and 3,000 spectators. According to the Game and Parks Commission, this was the world's largest one-day trail ride. Once a year the town came alive with trailers, trucks, and people camping everywhere, but the event was discontinued because of a lack of available land where that many people could ride.
Maywood's current population is 333, with a well-rounded business district. The town celebrated its centennial in 1987 with many activities throughout the year. Memorial Day weekend was set aside as a special three-day celebration. Many people returned to take part in the event and pay tribute to the hardy pioneers who came here 100 years ago.
By Jean Shirley, Box 6, Maywood, NE 69038
"One Hundred Years of Memories" Wellfleet and Maywood, 1987
"Maywood Memories" by Jean Shirley, 1986