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Harlan was founded in the mid-1850s on a site near the West Nishnabotna River close to the geographic center of Shelby County. The offices and court of the county were transferred to the town shortly after it was established. The usual courthouse square and a block for a public school were included within the conventional grid scheme. By the late 1890s two north-south railroads ran through the town.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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