Our Town Fairbury: Vibrant Downtown

Pure Nebraska
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 10:34 AM CDT|Updated: May. 22, 2023 at 11:44 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FAIRBURY, Neb. (KOLN) - There are many reasons why residents in Fairbury are proud of this Jefferson County town. One big reason is the thriving downtown district.

We talked with the mayor of Fairbury to learn more about the unique area. “Our courthouse, our brick streets, and our mural are just a few things that stand out,” Fairbury Mayor Spencer Brown said. It turns out the downtown Fairbury commercial district received the honor of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. “Our buildings behind me, all around the square, all around the courthouse here, are on the historical registry,” Brown said. “We also have almost 100 buildings and streets in town here that are designated historical. As you can see, a lot of our streets in town are original brick streets. Those are also on the historical register.” The brick streets in the downtown area are charming, and local residents are quite proud to know that these have been in existence since before the 1900′s. “Fairbury is an old railroad town,” Brown said. “The Rock Island Railroad came through here. That’s really what brought Fairbury to life.”

There are so many buildings that stand out in the downtown district, but there’s certainly one that rises above the rest. That, of course, is the Jefferson County Courthouse. “It’s withstood the test of time for sure,” Brown said.

Everywhere you look, there’s history. But this part of Our Town Fairbury is not just fun to look at, or just drive through. Downtown Fairbury is a busy place where both retail businesses and service businesses work hand in hand to create a big impact on the local economy. “Our downtown is really versatile,” Brown said. “We have everything from spas and hair salons to boutiques. We have pharmacies down here, we have restaurants. There are also some entertainment venues. Our Bonham movie theater is down here. People also enjoy the “On The Bricks” lofts and venue space, where people have catered events, parties, and other gatherings.”

It’s definitely fair to say that people in Fairbury take a lot of pride in making sure Fairbury keeps its small town charm. But the area also serves residents in a modern and forward-thinking way. “I think if you look around and drive through town, it’s very evident,” Brown said. “Like our movie theater for instance. Everybody banded together to bring that back to life, and to rehab our movie theater. When you look around, there’s a lot of testament to the value that everybody sees in our historic buildings.”

Along with business, the downtown core is a focal point for activities throughout the year. “Across the square, we have Conrad Park,” Brown said. “We host a farmers market there every Saturday morning in the summer. It brings in vendors from out of town. They come in, they sell their goods, and people go down there and buy their goods in the morning. During the Halloween time, we have Trunk or Treat, and this entire square will be packed with people handing out candy to hundreds of kids, if not thousands. Those kids come and walk the square to go trick-or-treating. Our car show has expanded from around the square to all of the side streets, too. It’s really taken off. There are lots of things going on down here, and it’s an epicenter of where people are going to gather during an event.”

The next time you drive through Fairbury, get off Highway 136, go a few blocks south, and experience the core of this community. “It’s where it all started,” Brown said. “It’s what people first talk about when they come to town, how beautiful the square is, and how amazing the courthouse looks.” For residents and visitors alike, this part of town makes a great impression.