Humphrey is located in northern Platte County in northeast Nebraska at the junction of U.S. Highway 81 and Nebraska Highway 91. We are 22 miles south of Norfolk and 23 miles north of Columbus.
Although Humphrey was not incorporated until 1883, the area where Humphrey is now located was always very popular with settlers. As early as 1868, settlers - most of whom were Catholic immigrants from Germany, Austria, Holland, Poland, Ireland, and Switzerland - located in the north-central part of Platte County they called "Tracy Valley." The name for Humphrey came from the first postmaster who named the office after her hometown of Humphrey, NY.
Tracy Valley was also known as "railroad land." This meant land was priced low by the railroad companies to encourage rapid settlement which in turn benefited the railroad companies. In 1879 the Omaha, Niobrara, and Black Hills Railroad company began construction on a line that ran from the Union Pacific main line at Duncan to Norfolk. On November 25, 1880, James E. North, county surveyor for the railroad company platted lots and drew up a town plan for the new community of Humphrey.
William Eimers owned the first store in town selling lumber and grain. Soon other businesses followed his lead. In 1881, Dan Drebert and Ira Briggs started the first bank. Duesman Furniture and Funeral Home was built in 1882 and is the oldest business in Humphrey today.
Four churches were established - Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, and Lutheran. The St. Francis Catholic school and the public school system, established in 1884 and 1889 respectively, still educate the children of the Humphrey area. The Humphrey Democrat began publishing in 1886 and the newspaper remains in circulation.