Burwell is the county seat of Garfield County, Nebraska. The population was 1,210 at the 2010 census. Businesses include many restaurants, 2 grocery stores, a newly opened hardware store, many other locally owned and operated businesses. Burwell is a gateway to hunting, fishing, boating, swimming, horseback riding, hiking and biking.
Burwell is home of the Burwell Livestock Market which is one of the largest cattle auctions in the Sandhills, home to Nebraska’s Big Rodeo, and the home of Calamus Reservoir. The drive around the lake is beautiful in itself.
In 1921 Homer C. Stokes started the town’s first-ever rodeo with wild horse races, bronc riding and calf roping. The facilities at Nebraska’s Big Rodeo are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and the facility is one of the largest outdoor rodeo areas in the world. The facility is on the southeast side of town along Highways 11/91. The Rodeo and Garfield County Fair are held each year on this sprawling 40 acres of grounds.
Calamus Reservoir was built by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation by constructing a dam across the Calamus River. The dam, which was completed in 1986, was originally called the Calamus Dam, but the name was changed to Virginia Smith Dam in honor of Virginia Dodd Smith, one of Nebraska’s state representatives. She served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 to 1991 and worked hard to make positive changes for her state.
Calamus Reservoir is a great place to enjoy many types of outdoor recreation. It’s a popular lake for fishing, some of the species of fish that can be caught in the lake include bass, channel catfish, walleye, northern pike, perch, and wipers. Calamus State Fish Hatchery is below the dam, and those interested in learning about fish production can take a tour of the hatchery. It is operated by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and produces millions of trout, muskie, walleye, and other fish species each year.
Places to Eat
Sandstone Grill – Do NOT miss eating here, great food and wonderful atmosphere in the Sandhills of Nebraska. Their dessert and wine list leave nothing to miss. The Steak was excellent as was the Salmon.
Places to Stay
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