In 1886, the Northern Nebraska Land Improvement Company decided to speculate on land sales after the announcement that the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha Railroad would construct a railroad from Wayne, NE to northwest to Niobrara, NE. The land sales which followed were the spark that began the development of the city of Randolph. In 1890 another railroad was built from Sioux City, IA to O’Neill, NE and was called the Nebraska Northeast Railway which is now the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway which was located on the north edge of Randolph. The town was named in honor of Lord Randolph Churchill of England and was incorporated as a municipality on May 7, 1889.
The first-person to make their home in Randolph township was Frank Whitney, who staked out 320 acres of raw prairies in 1880 under the Homestead and Tree Claims Act.
Zacharia Boughn built part of the original town after he traded his Illinois property for 2,200 acres of land just east of Randolph. In the summer of 1887, the Boughn Hotel was built, and a 110-foot well was dug, and a water tank and windmill were added.
Randolph’s first lumberyard was established in 1886 by Edward McCauly. Followed by its first post office in 1887.
In 1887 a school district was organized, and a small frame schoolhouse was built. The first Catholic school was built in 1899 in Randolph. Both schools operated K-12 operated until 1970 when a merger of both schools was necessary.
Four churches were established in Randolph in the late 1880’s and early 1890’s. A cemetery association bought a hillside overlooking the town for $10 an acre. The cemetery was platted in a circular design, with an unusual solider monument in the center.
A volunteer fire department was organized in 1901 and is presently housed in a fire hall built in 1975 with an addition in 2008.
A city light plan was established in 1902 with an 85-horse power engine. In 1905 the town was adorned with streetlights. And, thus from here our town continued to grow and flourish into our community today.