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November 20, 2018

History of Thurston

Thurston was established in 1895.  The name Thurston, as applied to the town, originated with the railroad company who named its station in honor of the U.S. Senator John M. Thurston.  The founder of the town followed suit when it came time to naming the town.

The first depot in 1892 was a boxcar located in the old sand pit south of where Thurston now stands – this first site was called Flourney.  In 1918 a new depot was built which had only one train a day pass through.  This was a freight train with a passenger car at the rear.  In just a short time there were three passenger trains and many freight trains going each way daily.  There was a stockyards by the railroad where the farmers loaded their livestock to be shipped to either Omaha or Sioux City.

John Lemmon was the first person to buy lots in the town site.  The first store was owned by Tony Arends who also managed the P.V. Elevator.  The Post Office was in the store.

Within the first ten years Thurston was home to several early entrepreneurs starting businesses such as the following:  

  • A Blacksmith Shop
  • The Thurston Hotel
  • A Butcher Shop
  • A Hardware Store
  • A Livery Barn
  • Thurston State Bank
  • The Thurston Gazette
  • A Bakery
  • A Drug Store
  • A Dance Hall


Now more that 110 years later the town of Thurston still thrives, yet on a smaller scale.  The current population of 120 people represent all walks of life.  Main street business’ includes a bar and café, a meat processor and locker as well as a post office and fire station.  A large grain elevator, retail commercial fertilizer dealer, county maintenance shop and an international manufacturing company round out the community’s employment base of approximately 110 people.  Thurston continues to be on a steady course and provides a pleasant and safe place to live.


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