_Brief History of Murdock
German immigrants settled in this area as early as the 1860's. There was no town at this time. they built homes, farms, churches, and schools in their little 'communities', and if they needed anything they rode by horse to towns like Ashland, or Lousiville for supplies.
In the late 1880's the Rock Island Railroad was building its main line from Omaha to Lincoln. The steam locomotives needed water every 7 miles, so a stop, or town was built along the way. This was how Murdock got its start. South Bend was to the north 7 miles, and the town of Alvo was was being developed 7 miles to the southwest. Murdock got its name from an official with the railroad, who was instrumental with bringing the Rock Island to the area. This was actually the 3rd choice for a name, since businessmen and landowners and founders of the town, Louis Neitzel, and Louis Eickhoff, modestly declined the use of their names.
Businesses: First built and still standing is the hotel, located on 4th and Colorado streets. Neitzel, an Evangelical pastor, built a hardware store on main street that was one of the largest in the area. Other businesses included, harness shops, blacksmith, lumberyard, Mercantile, grocery, meat market, cream station, automobile dealers, tractor, and implement dealers, gas station and repair shops.
Churches: At one point there were three churches in town, The Methodist Episcopal, the Evangelical, and United Brethren in Christ. Now the United Methodist, formally the Evangelical United Brethren church exists, along with rural Trinity Missouri Synod Lutheran north of town.
Schools: Many rural one-room schools existed in the area, but once the town was built, there was a need for a town school. A two-story wooden building was built on the area of 1st street and Iowa, in the northeast part of Murdock. When the fire marshal deemed it unsafe, it was torn down and made into two identical houses, which still exist. In 1924, several rural schools consolidated with Murdock, and built a new 2-1/2 story brick building on the site of the current Elmwood-Murdock High School. The first superintendent was also the first woman superintendent in Nebraska, Elenore Gakemeier Swarts. When that building was labeled unsafe by the fire marshal in the 1970's, Murdock built a new building on the site, and tore down the old school. In 1990, Murdock's school district and neighboring Elmwood School district consolidated, using a portion of the building that student use today.
Many years have gone by since the first German settlers came here, but there are still several descendants of the original pioneers living and farming and doing business in the community.