Seward possessed many of the trappings of a well-developed city by the mid 1890s. During the period, a YMCA (SW09-173) and a Carnegie Library were constructed (SW09-172). The city no longer possessed a pioneer town appearance as represented by its fifty-two blocks of paved streets and twenty miles of board and paved sidewalks. Utility services included electricity from the local light plant and water from a municipal waterworks. Telephone service also was in operation by the 1890s.
The downtown commercial district evolved around a public square, which became the site of the Seward County Courthouse (SW09-093) in 1906. This district served the city’s two thousand residents with a wide variety of enterprises. Soon a number of ornate and substantial buildings were constructed to house these enterprises. Notable examples include the Zimmerer Hardware Store Building (SW09-136), the Tishue Block (SW09- 147) and the I.H. Feary Building (SW09-175). Many of the city’s businessmen also constructed large houses in the community. Those owned by the Jones (SW09-074) and Cattle (SW09-006) banking families are examples.Seward County: Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey (2007). The Heritage Research, Ltd. Prepared for the Nebraska State Historical Society.