This is what little is
left of Milldale.
Weeds have grown up
around the remains and
big chunks of concrete
have broken into tiny pieces that litter the ground.
When the Union Pacific Railroad wound its way through central Nebraska, small towns began to pop up all over the place; about every 10 miles actually. Plans for tiny townships were laid out by savvy businessmen and sold to easterners as a promotional effect of the railroad. One of these towns was Milldale, Nebraska.
In a curve cut off at the mouth by the South Loup River, dozens of broken rocks are all that remain of a once prosperous mill. In 1881, an experienced miller, Alvin Harris, built a dam out of cottonwood and brush. By 1882, Harris had a gristmill running; he called it Milldale. A livery barn was soon built. Farmers used this barn to house their animals while they were waiting to use the mill.
Before too long, more buildings were constructed such as a post office, also run by Alvin Harris, Postmaster; a dance hall; and a general store, operated by Otis Pickett. In 1890, school was held in Milldale in a frame building, originally built for a store, across the road from Alvin Harris Mill. This school building, however, burnt in the Blizzard of 1903 and another was built nearby.
Although towns like Arnold, Callaway, and Oconto survived the 1900s, Milldale did not. Charles Beshaler, a resident of Arnold, lives near where the Harris ranch once stood. He remembers the town before it fell apart, but recalls the problems the township faced. “About that time the roads got better and the trucks hauled the grain and cattle to towns like Arnold.” Although there is no Milldale today, the memory of the town still stands firm in many peoples minds.