Exploring History in McCook, Nebraska
McCook, Nebraska was established in 1882 as the result of an agreement between the Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company and the Lincoln Land Company to form a new railroad center halfway between Denver, Colorado and Omaha, Nebraska.
Our city was named after the Union Brigadier General, Alexander McDowell McCook, of the “Fighting Ohio McCooks” who were known as military leaders and Indian fighters. General McCook served the Union for 43 years against Indian uprisings in the west and against the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
A traditional old west boomtown, McCook quickly became the center of commerce and trade in Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas. Pioneers flocked in for the opportunity to create fresh profitable lives in the thriving new railroad town.
As the town grew and established itself as a commercial center, farming and ranching spread across the surrounding rural area. In 1890, the largest buffalo herd in the world existed northeast of McCook. A man known as Buffalo Jones established several ranches that provided buffalo to the rest of the world. Jones is credited to be directly responsible for keeping the buffalo from extinction.
Coming to McCook in the late 1800s, Senator George W. Norris made his home here from 1899 to 1944. Norris is known as being the father of the Rural Electrification Administration that successfully brought electricity to rural areas. He represented Nebraskans for 40 years in the United States Congress, serving 10 years in the House of Representatives and 30 years in the Senate.
Over 100 years of history deeply rooted in agriculture, the railroad industry and the spirit of the American pioneer is still prevalent in the community lifestyle of McCook today. Come experience the history for yourself and enjoy making your own history while you’re here.