In 1879 the lrish Catholic Colonization Association (ICCA) was formed in Chicago, with the intent of relocating lrish immigrants from some of the cities in the eastern United States and coal mines in Pennsylvania to the healthful atmosphere of Nebraska. Bishop James O'Connor of Omaha was instrumental in promoting Nebraska and particularly Greeley County. In 1880 the ICCA purchased 25,000 acres from the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad for its colony, with the center being the town of O'Connor. That year saw development in other parts of the county also, with the first grist mill established one and one-half miles south of Scotia at the bend in the river. In 1881 the town of Spalding was founded and named for Bishop Spalding of the ICCA.
by Edith Swain McDermott
Greeley Center began in the spring of 1885. Thomas Fox conceived the idea that a town in the center of Greeley county might attract one or more of the several railroads that were eyeing the unopened territory north and west. He sold his land holdings in valley county and purchased land in the heart of Greeley county in section ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen in township eighteen, Range eleven.
Some prairie had been broken by earlier homesteaders but most of it was still grass land and made excellent range for the cattle which were . Fox's nephew, Charles A. Harris. In september a townsite was staked out on the north forty rods of the south west quarter and the undivided two-thirds of the north half of section twelve, Township eighteen, Ranga eleven. The site was described at the time as being "the natural junction of the Cedar, Wallace creek, Fish creek, Leo Valley and Spring creek valleys."
Work was started in 1886 upon a commodious two story building. When it wa finished H.A. Martin, a druggist from Cedar Rapids, opened a drug store, James W. Wallace and G.F. Spooner, two men from CouncilBluffs, started a store. Dr. W.B. Callander at the same time established his office upstairs in the building, while H.L. Ganoe launched The Independent, a newspaper which appeared first on October 9, 1886, boosting the opportunities and advantage of the new town.
The Greeley State Bank was originized in 1887 with a capital of $25,000. W.W. Wallace was president.
The first post office had been established December 9 1885, in charge of Thomas Fox and was named Spalding. By direction of the post office department, the name was changed to Greeley in 1887.
Mail routes were established between Greeley Scotia and O'Connor.
To aid in the improvement and advancement of the village, the Town Hall Association was organized in April 1886.
President John B. Gaffney
Vice President J.E. Taylor
Secretary G.J. Spooner
Treasurer James Wallace
Trustees Thomas Fox, H.A. Martin, Henry Lafrench, H.A Martin