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History of Grand Island

In 1857, thirty-seven men and women left Davenport, Iowa to create a new city in central Nebraska along the Platte River at a place the French fur trapper called le Grand Ile.

It was believed that a major railroad would be built through the Platte River Valley and the railroad, transporting goods and people, would bring prosperity. The settlers were right. Grand Island got not just one, but three rail lines, making it “the hub of the wheel.” The Union Pacific Railroad arrived in 1866 with the St. Joseph and Western rails reaching Grand Island in 1879, and the Burlington line in 1884.


Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce
309 West Second Street
Post Office Box 1486
Grand Island, NE 68802-1486
Phone: 308.382.9210
Fax: 308.382.1154