Last updated: November 6, 2015
Niobrara Historical Brevity
July 1, 1986
From "Niobrara Historical Brevity" published by the
Niobrara Historical Society, in observance of the Lusk Centennial 1886-1986
Keeline, Wyoming is situated 16 miles west of Lusk, Wyoming on Highway 20. George A. Keeline and Sons working their way north, established the 4J Ranch on the Platte River in about 1876 in the Glendo area. Later George Keeline moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa and yearly made a journey to Wyoming to see how his ranch investment was doing. He traveled on the CNW Railroad to Keeline and then south to the ranch. He made this trip into the 1940's.
To the north and west of Keeline along the railroad, a fenced pasture and loading chute for shipping out cattle from the 4J was established. Therefore the shipping point was known as Keeline.
In 1892 George Blaine bought land form a Claus Sothman that later became the Blaine Bros. sheep headquarters. Here at Keeline Siding on the CNW Railroad they located their shearing pens.
Addison A. Spaugh came up the trail at the age of 17 in 1874. He worked for big ranching operators and soon became manager of them. Later he had herd interests of his own.
In 1902 he purchased the Blaine Bros. Sheep Co. In 1910 Mr. Spaugh decided to build a town called Keeline to honor George A. Keeline - owner of the 4J Ranch. In 1910 the invasion of farmers and homesteaders began in this area. There was an abundance of cream accumulated from the homesteaders, so Keeline Siding was fixed so the train would stop and pick it up and take it to the Blue Valley Creamery in Nebraska.
On October 8, 1913 Mary E. Spaugh dedicated the 80 acres platted for public use for the town.
It was a well planned town-the plat had 1st thru 4th streets running east and west. Eight avenues ran north and south.
A post office had been established elsewhere and Mr. Spaugh played a roll in moving it. There was a store known as the Applegate store. Two small houses were there, a boxcar was placed for the depot and there was a one room school. This was the extent of the town in 1912. Mike Conners ran a blacksmith and repair shop at his homestead on the south edge of Keeline.
Mr. Spaugh had a man by the name of Abbott as a promoter for the town of Keeline. Between 40 and 50 lots were sold the second day.
The Applegate store became the Walker Freeman store and later became Bushnell General Merchandise and Coal. The town had a post office, lumber yard and elevator, livery barn and dray service, restaurant, grist mill, several churches, drug store, bank, hotel, grade and high schools, potato cellar, creamery, which had a butter and cheese contract with Blue Valley Creamery, a depot agent and telegraph operator, a hardware store, a newspaper-The Keeline Record-a four page newspaper and six pages on special occasions, an attorney, Chevrolet garage, barbershop, pool hall, dance hall, Keeline Telephone Co. and various other stores.
Keeline shipped out more cream, hogs and grain than any other place between Chadron and Douglas. It had dry land fairs. Keeline never had a bar nor a police officer.
At one time Keeline had a population of 440 - In 1986 it has a population of 4. The post office is still in use.
The names of the honored dead of World War II are engraved on the Keeline Park Stone setting between the Highway and the Post Office.
The Lusk Herald
July 9, 1986
'Watch Keeline Grow' was town's early motto
With the coming of the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad in the summer of 1886, Keeline came to Wyoming Territory in Cheyenne as county seat. The new settlement was named for George A. Keeline of Council Bluffs, Iowa, who maintained the 4J ranch and came often to look after his interests there.
"Watch Keeline Grow" was the motto of the early homesteaders, Mrs. Irene Dupes recalls. She attended Jireh College and later taught at the chimney Rock school. She remembers the Applegate store and the hotel operated by Ad Spaugh. Dr. G. D. Murphy visited is patients via team and wagon, jolting over the rough prairie with no roads. Lost Springs was noted for the gay times, when homesteaders and cowboys danced until dawn.
The Bank of Keeline opened in March, 1917. The Keeline Recorder was a four-page newspaper that came out with six pages for special occasions. Frank Kelly and Theron Grant both served as editors. The third annual fair was held in Keeline in 1921 with many well-prepared samples from a bountiful crop, handiwork of ambitious housewives, and a contest among chickens.
A new Lutheran Church was dedicated in May, 1931.
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