Merna, Nebraska

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Merna, Nebraska
—  Village  —
Downtown Merna: north side of Center Avenue
Location of Merna, Nebraska
Coordinates: 41°29′5″N 99°45′44″W / 41.48472°N 99.76222°W / 41.48472; -99.76222Coordinates: 41°29′5″N 99°45′44″W / 41.48472°N 99.76222°W / 41.48472; -99.76222
CountryUnited States
StateNebraska
CountyCuster
Area
 • Total0.54 sq mi (1.39 km2)
 • Land0.54 sq mi (1.39 km2)
 • Water0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation2,664 ft (812 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total363
 • Density677.2/sq mi (261.5/km2)
Time zoneCentral (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code68856
Area code(s)308
FIPS code31-31780[1]
GNIS feature ID0831232[2]
 
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Merna, Nebraska
—  Village  —
Downtown Merna: north side of Center Avenue
Location of Merna, Nebraska
Coordinates: 41°29′5″N 99°45′44″W / 41.48472°N 99.76222°W / 41.48472; -99.76222Coordinates: 41°29′5″N 99°45′44″W / 41.48472°N 99.76222°W / 41.48472; -99.76222
CountryUnited States
StateNebraska
CountyCuster
Area
 • Total0.54 sq mi (1.39 km2)
 • Land0.54 sq mi (1.39 km2)
 • Water0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation2,664 ft (812 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total363
 • Density677.2/sq mi (261.5/km2)
Time zoneCentral (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code68856
Area code(s)308
FIPS code31-31780[1]
GNIS feature ID0831232[2]

Merna is a village in Custer County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 363 at the 2010 census.

Contents

History

In 1972, Gerald F. Merna, the Executive Assistant to the Postmaster General at the U.S. Postal Service Headquarters in Washington, DC, learned there was a Third Class Post Office named Merna, in Custer County, Nebraska. Curious as to his “namesake” Post Office, on Feb. 16th Mr. Merna wrote a letter to Kenneth L. Bergstrom, then the Postmaster of Merna, Nebraska 68856, inquiring how the town got its name "Merna."

Postmaster Bergstrom sent Mr. Merna a small pamphlet, “STORY of MERNA and AREA.” Selected excerpts from that pamphlet disclosed the following information:

“Merna is located in Kilfoil Township of Custer County. The first Merna Post Office was located about one-half mile north of the present townsite and was established on March 2, 1880. It was located in a home built of cedar logs, rather than sod, occupied by the first Postmaster, Samuel N. Dunning. Postmaster Dunning and a few neighbors petitioned the United States Government at Washington to grant them a mail route from Kearney and a Post Office, to be called Clifton. The name Clifton was rejected but the mail route was granted. The Post Office and town were later named for Postmaster Dunning’s daughter, Merna.

In 1881, W. G. Brotherton and his wife took a claim where the town of Merna now stands. He built a small sod house and this became a Post Office and a store, he being the second Postmaster.

In 1883, the Post Office and store, which comprised the town, was moved about two miles west and north, and a townsite, company formed. In 1886, the Lincoln Townsite Company purchased Postmaster Brotherton’s claim, relocating the Post Office and town back in the former location.

Early in April, the year 1883, a small train of prairie schooners came from Iowa and Illinois looking for the valley which was already settled by a few earlier settlers. The Post Office was already established and being operated by Sam Dunning as postmaster. Drouths, blizzards and even grasshoppers didn’t daunt the courage of these pioneers, and by the turn of the century the village of Merna was a busy town. Many homes, the school and churches were all signs of progress. About this time there were two hotels, two livery stables, three banks, three eating houses, three general stores, a meat market, two drug stores, a newspaper, a bakery, a telephone office, a millinary store, two barber shops, a dentist, two doctors, two repair shops, a railroad depot, and three large grain elevators.

At the present time (1967), Merna’s business houses aren’t as plentiful, however we still have three elevators, many storage bins, a meat market, a bank, two filling stations, one grocery store, a repair shop, two truck lines, four churches, a library, and a tavern.

New life is showing up with our new Post Office one new home nearing completion, several under construction, a new filling station underway, and the new Junior-Senior high school nearing completion. We feel our town is taking on new life."

Recently, Merna was at the center of a geological controversy regarding a depression in the land several miles west of town in the loess hills. Originally called the Bartak Depression after the owners of the land, it was redubbed the Merna Crater by University of Kansas geology professor Wakefield Dort, Jr. Further research showed the crater to be more likely formed by wind and water erosion, but memories of the flurry of importance in the small town remain.[3][4]

Geography

Merna is located at 41°29′5″N 99°45′44″W / 41.48472°N 99.76222°W / 41.48472; -99.76222 (41.484618, -99.762293)[5].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 0.54 square miles (1.39 km²), all of it land.

Demographics

As of the census[6] of 2010, there were 363 people, 151 households, and 110 families residing in the village. The population density was 677.2 people per square mile (261.5/km²). There were 174 housing units at an average density of 324.6 per square mile (125.3/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 98.6% White, 0.3% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.

There were 151 households out of which 32.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.9% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 27.2% were non-families. 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.87.

The median age in the village was 40.2 years. 27.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.6% were from 25 to 44; 30.1% were from 45 to 64; and 13.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the village was 48.5% male and 51.5% female.

As of 2000 the median income for a household in the village was $31,250, and the median income for a family was $36,406. Males had a median income of $27,083 versus $18,958 for females. The per capita income for the village was $15,474. About 10.1% of families and 13.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.2% of those under age 18 and 4.2% of those age 65 or over.

References

  1. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. http://geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/07/22/tech/main515846.shtml
  4. ^ http://www.unl.edu/scarlet/v11n29/v11n29features.html
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml. Retrieved 2012-6-24.