Village info :

Trenton, Nebraska is located at the intersection of Highway 34 and Highway 25. [see a map] Today, Trenton is a growing rural town, rich with vacation and business opportunties in a welcoming community setting.

Historically the town originally started about a quarter mile west of its present location. It was then called "Trail City" because of its location on the Texas-Ogallala cattle trail from 1869 until 1884.

Trenton, Nebraska circa 1890

Massacre Canyon Monument

In those days the Pawnee Indians still held an annual buffalo hunt along the Republican River basin and it was on their annual hunt in 1873 that 700 men, women and children were attacked and killed by Sioux Indians at the place now called Massacre Canyon. The buffalo hunts ended with that event. Also in 1873 Nebraska Governor Furnas granted permission to form Hitchcock county. Named after U. S. Senator Phineas W. Hitchcock and named Culbertson, the only town in the county as the county seat. The Indians of the region continued to gather near Trenton for an annual "Pow-Wow" from 1923 till 1956, the area is still called the Pow-Wow Grounds.

As homesteaders continued to come to the region the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad built a line through the area and a train depot was built, "The largest between McCook and Akron, Colorado". The site for the new train depot was selected in a spot that was more flat and train friendly so the location of modern Trenton was established.

The original train depot in Trenton

In October 1885 there was only about 20 people in the new town but by January there was 160. Businesses and churches sprang up, a bridge was built over the Republican River and in 1887 Trenton (named after Trenton, New Jersey) was incorporated with a population over 239.

Currently the train depot in Trenton

Eventually after three elections Trenton was selected as the county seat. Culbertson residents were not willing to accept this vote and in a still hotly debated action, men from Trenton went to Culbertson on the night of October 1, 1893 and "took" the county records back to Trenton.

In 1935, with a population of 900, on Trenton's fiftieth anniversary, the town was inundated by the "butte to butte" flood. The dam that was built in 1949 closed the original rail line to the town. In 1952 the new Burlington Northern station was built on higher ground along the line north of town from Lincoln to Denver. the population peaked at 1,300 in 1950 during the building of the dam. Today that dam holds Swanson Reservoir and attracts tourists from across the region to boat and fish.

New Hitchcock County Courthouse

A new courthouse was built in 1969 and Trenton today has
a local population of over 560.

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