1910: Columbus had a population of 5,000, a sizeable number of inhabitants for those days. It was a strong commercial point for goods going west.
1930s: Columbus leaders revived the earlier dream of harnessing water power to generate electricity. They worked countless months to convince the federal government to allocate
$3 million from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to construct the power canal.
Their foresight was considerable, especially in light of the fact that the demand for electricity in the early 1930s was small. The construction of the project helped to alleviate local unemployment by providing jobs in the midst of the Great Depression. Water diverted from the Loup River into a canal continues today to produce hydro-electric power. Because of the Loup Project, Columbus was the birthplace of public power in Nebraska.
1940s: Catering to both agricultural and industrial interests, several Columbus men-of-vision created an industrial site and constructed a speculative industrial building. Having this building available led our first out-of-town corporation to look at Columbus and eventually settle here. We believe this to be the first designated industrial site in the U.S.
Today, Columbus is the most highly industrial city per capita in the state of Nebraska.