About Gordon

Our History

The village of Gordon was officially organized on November 19, 1885, on a site just a few blocks west of theLone Willow, a landmark of the Old Kearney Trail. Although free homestead land was the lure that brought settlers to this part of Nebraska in the mid 1880s, the community took shape and prospered largely due to the railroad.

In any frontier community, a breed of men and women tend to develop who might be called "Renaissance people," because their interests and abilities spread effectively in many directions. Many Renaissance people were Gordon's early settlers, but they were only the first of the industrious, creative, spirited citizens who typify the Gordon community. Some have made contributions to society far beyond local boundaries, like Dwight Griswold, Governor of Nebraska, Ambassador to Greece and United States Senator during the 1940s and early 1950s and Val Fitch, a 1940 Gordon High School graduate who received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1980.

Perhaps the foremost person associated with this area is Jules Sandoz, immortalized by his eldest daughter, Mari Sandoz, in the biography, Old Jules. Mari Sandoz (1896 - 1966) is increasingly recognized as one of the most gifted writers in American literature.

James M. Riley --"Doc Middleton" -- was Gordon's most notorious resident. "Doc" was born in 1852 and came to Nebraska after beginning a career as a horsethief and murderer at the age of 14. In 1879, Doc married and made intentions to reform, but his gang and way of life were too tempting. In two years over 2,000 horses were stolen from ranchers as well as the Sioux Indians. Three children were born to Doc and his third wife, Rene. When his first born, LuLu, died, she was buried in the Gordon Cemetery. The marker is still there. Most of the murders Doc committed were a result of revenge taken on one who committed a crime against anyone he felt attached to. The old timers say that when a poor family in Gordon had a little girl that got sick, Doc paid for a doctor's care. When the child died, Doc had the casket made out of the bar in his saloon.

Today, US Highway 20 and Nebraska 27 intersect in Gordon, reinforcing its natural location as an agricultural and commercial center and also its development as a medical and cultural center. Nebraska Highway 27 coincides with Gordon's original Main Street, a thoroughfare that has pulsed with the life of the town from its earliest days. Here, and throughout the extended, far-flung community, resources merge to create continuity and progress. The greatest resource of all, now as in the past, is the people who call Gordon home.

(Information credited to the City of Gordon Web Site)