By Cecelia McKeig
As with many towns, there was an original town and then a town which was moved because of the railroad or natural disasters. Old Nebish began on the shores of Lake Nebish. It was the first southern terminus of the Red Lake Railway, the logging railroad that ran from Nebish to Redby. It was constructed by the Halverson-Richards Company about 1897. The locomotive was hauled from Steamboat Landing on Leech Lake by teams in the winter, coming up through Buena Vista. The road was extended to Bemidji in 1905. It was first known as the Red Lake Transportation Company and in 1904, it reorganized as the Minneapolis, Red Lake and Manitoba Railway Company, but it was known to most as the Red Lake Line. The tracks were taken up in 1938.
Nebish got its post office in 1898, and stage service was established between Nebish and Buena Vista. The 1900 census listed 84 men all working for the Red Lake Transportation Company and eight families, four of whom had school age children. Based on the census, the school children were Charlotte Westman (age 10), Irene Westman (7), Walter Gracie (14), Estella (11), and Ralph Grace (6); Joe Verville (8), Josephine Verville (7); Harmon Hoffer (9) and Bernice Hoffer (6), and these children were all identified as “at school.” This was likely a subscription school as there are no records except for information that a subscription school operated in a log cabin in 1904.