City Economic Development

Kimball traces its history back to 1867 when the Union Pacific Railroad construction reached the site of the present day town's location. The railroad established a station, calling it Antelope, because large herds of antelope roamed in the area, and the tiny settlement of Antelopeville sprang up beside it. For a number of years, the only activity in the vicinity consisted of railroad crews stopping for food and rest, and the huge Bay State Livestock Company cattle operation. In 1877, the little town's first post office was established, and in 1881, the first school was started through the efforts of Mary Lynch, wife of a section foreman for the railroad.

The Union Pacific began selling off its land in 1884, opening the way for settlement. By the end of 1885, the town had a hotel, two professional offices, a newspaper, several retail shops and a new name - Kimball. The new name came from an official of the Union Pacific Railroad, Thomas L. Kimball, later to become vice-president and general manager of the railroad.  Kimball County was established in 1889 and its first courthouse was built in 1890 on the city park land. 

The Homestead Act and the Kincaid Act fostered the settlement of Kimball County in the early years from 1885 - 1910. Farming was the major source of revenue, and this improved dramatically when irrigation was developed. As the farmers prospered, so did the local businessmen and economic development advanced rapidly.  It was during this period that Kimball's first manufacturing plant began operating. Pat Maginnis, a blacksmith in Kimball's earliest days, patented an irrigation flume, a trough designed to carry irrigation water across ravines. Flumes were manufactured in his factory in Kimball for export to many locations in the U.S. and abroad.  Manufacturing still holds strong in Kimball today.

Since the early days, Kimball became a boom town for oil and missile production.  Though the oil has declined and the missiles have ceased production, one can still see the remnants of both today.  All across the county, oil is still being pumped.  To highlight our defense past, a shell from a Titan I missile stands firm in Kimball's Gotte Park.