Orignally named "Lena", the town of Dunning, Nebraska is nestled between the Loup and Dismal Rivers, and today is merely a ghost of the busy, bustling ranch
town it was in earlier days. Today few businesses exist in Dunning, Nebraska.
Norm's Auto Repair and Sinclair station is located at the intersection of
Nebraska Highway 2 and 91. Inside the station you will find snacks, restrooms and lovely handmade pottery from the Sandhills Pottery Company. In town you will find
the Sandhills Blessings Quilt Shop, the Dismal River Carpentry company
and the newly opened Sandhills Heritage Museum. There is interesting architecture around the town to see including the
Village of Dunning
Located in Blaine County, Nebraska, the town and area of Dunning, Nebraska was the site of
skirmishes between cattle ranchers and homesteaders. The population of
area of Nebraska greatly benefited from the 1903
Kinkaid Act which allowed homesteaders to claim 640 acres rather than
the 160 acres designated for the eastern farming areas of the State. The Kinkaid Act proved to be
of the utmost importance
for encouraging the settlement of the Sandhills of Nebraska. The 1900's through the 1930's until
the Great Depression
was a prosperous time and the population boomed in the Dunning area. In 1890 the population of
Blaine County, organized as a county
in 1886, was 1,146. After the drought years of the 1890's the population was 603. In 1910 the
population rose up
Encouraged by a glut of cattle in Texas, Texas cattlemen drove their longhorn cattle up the trails
to the Nebraska railroad line hubs.
First to Nebraska City and then further west to Kearney and Ogallala. Some of the Texans stayed
in Nebraska and built their own ranches with the
lean and bony longhorns as their chief asset. Shorthorn Durham bulls were introduced into
the breeding lines but after the introduction of the Herefordshire
cattle from England into the Sandhills area, Herefords became the cattle of choice for the
area ranches. With the building of the transcontinental railroad, cattle from the Nebraska
Sandhills were in demand and ranch life flourished.
The Northrup Ranch was established in 1870 between Goose Creek and the
North Loup River. 1884 saw the establishment of the Field Brothers Ranch. The Field Brothers as well
as the Sawyer Ranch and the Rankin Ranch were all
instrumental in the development of
Dunning, Nebraska as an important Sandhills town. Located along the orignial Chicago, Burlington
and Quincy Railroad line,
Dunning became the large cattle shipping center for the area ranchers. Those skirmishes between
ranchers and homesteaders usually resulted only in property damage
and were settled in courts of law. Cattle rustling was a problem also for the ranchers with
Nebraska's own Doc Middleton a leading culprit.
Post offices were important social hubs in the large expanse of the Sandhills and many post
established without the benefit of a town. Edith and Scheding were established in 1907 in the
German Valley area and Pritchard, located
at Section 29 - Range 24 - Township 24, and Lucy, located between Brewster and Dunning, were other
post office social hubs.
Visit Sandhills Goat Products
website to learn about products made from goat's milk in the Dunning, Nebraska area. .