The Bethune School
Bethune was a settlement begun near what became a siding of the Rock Island Railroad but many of the folks from the early days were members of a German-Russian immigrant community founded about 10 miles to the north of today's town. The railroad settlement was founded in 1888, the immigrant settlement in 1889. Both settlements grew fairly quickly but both also suffered when seasons of drought struck. Then came World War I and the German-Russian residents became "alien enemies" to the country...
It seems the first European visitors in the Bethune area were French trappers who came to the region following the advice of an Indian named Dutch Jake. The Frenchmen told others of their experience and that attracted French farmers to the area - that's how the settlement got the French name: "bethune" means "farming."
The railroad built a section house just west of the original settlement and the town quickly began to grow and prosper. However, about the only local business that has survived the ensuing hard times is the grain elevators... and they have burned to the ground at least once.
The citizens built a brick school in 1926, the same year the town was incorporated. Things continued to look good and the town grew until 1932 when so much of what was built on the Great Plains came to a halt in the heart of the Great Depression. Bethune quickly withered away and the population was down to 52 in 1962. The town has recovered a bit since but still, nearly everyone goes to nearby Burlington to work and to conduct their business...
Incorporated: June 10, 1926
High School or Higher: 62.2%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 6.7%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 2.5%
Cost of Living Index for Bethune: 90.3
Median Household Income: $51,400
Median Home Value: $102,100
Median Resident Age: 33.8 Years
Agriculture, Lodging & Food Services, Professional Services, Retail Trade, Real Estate Services, Manufacturing, Transportation & Warehousing
Unemployed (September 2012): 4.3%
|Population by Age|
|18 & over||156|
|65 & over||35|
|Population by Ethnicity|
|Hispanic or Latino||87|
|Non Hispanic or Latino||150|
|Population by Race|
|Hawaiian or Pacific Islander||0|
|Two or more||4|