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Paxton is a small village in Keith County, Nebraska. The community was originally known as Alkali, for its alkaline soil, but its name was changed to Paxton in 1885, named for a prominent local rancher. The village’s first permanent settler was Edwin Searle, a telegraph operator for the Union Pacific Railroad. He lived in a tent south of the tracks until the railroad company brought in a 4x6-foot wooden building that was used as a depot and living quarters. In its early days, Paxton saw a lot of traffic, as the Homestead Act had opened up large portions of the land to settlement. In October of 1875, seven railcar loads of emigrants passed through each day for a week. A bridge was built across the South Platte in 1886 and, by 1890, Paxton had a depot, water tower, windmill, bank, school, ten businesses and a dozen houses scattered around the area. Many moved away during the 1890s, due to a drought that lasted a decade. Paxton is north of Interstate 80, east of Roscoe and Ogallala, and west of Sutherland and Hershey.

 

 

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