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Garfield County was established in 1881. The city of Burwell, Nebraska was platted in 1883, and named the county seat when the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad extended its track to the region in 1887. As the railroad did not extend beyond Burwell, a turntable was constructed to allow steam locomotives to be turned around for the return trip. The turntable is still intact. Burwell is the only incorporated town in Garfield County. Laid out on land that was donated by Frank Webster and I.B. Nelson, the city was platted so that its streets extend from the center of the square, rather than from its corners, and the square is not the site of the courthouse. Burwell was named for Ada Burwell, the fiance of Webster’s brother who was killed in a logging accident. Each year, Burwell hosts Nebraska’s Big Rodeo, held on the last weekend of July. Burwell is northwest of Elyria and east of Taylor.


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