Funk - A Bird Watcher's Paradise in the Middle of Farm Country
The people of Funk have heard them all before, so when you do your best Austin Powers and shout, “Funk-a-delic, Baby!” they just smile and nod. Actually, they say, you grow a thick skin about having a quirky town name, especially after “Funk” starts to sound like “home”.
Like all of the towns in Phelps County, Funk has a lengthy agricultural history. It got the name because a Civil War veteran named P.C. Funk bought a quarter-section of land two miles north of the present town in 1877 and was instrumental in persuading the Nebraska-Colorado Railroad, now the Burlington Northern, to establish a town site along the rails in 1887. The town survived three serious fires and hung onto life through the Depression, but since irrigation came to Phelps County in 1938, life has improved for farmers and townies alike.
Today, the Village of Funk has about 200 residents and is the fourth largest of the five Phelps County communities. Despite its diminutive size, however, Funk is far and away the most famous and widely known - at least among knowledgeable bird watchers. The Funk Waterfowl Protection Area (also known as the Funk Lagoon) was designated a National Recreational Trail in 2008 and is known literally throughout the world as one of the best places to observe wide varieties of aquatic birds, especially during the spring and fall migrations.
Later in the fall, another group interested in birds of a different sort - pheasant hunters - also visit Funk and the Funk Lagoon as one of the state's best hunting areas.
Fiber Optic to Every House
For all its relaxed demeanor, Funk has scored a technology coup that most Silicon Valley towns have not - every house has a fiber optic connection. That means that not only does each residence have high-speed Internet capabilities, but with thousands of times the transmission capacity of copper wire, they are “future-proofed” for potential data and video applications, from interactive content and telecommuting to audio and video on demand.
Funk has just about everything a small town needs: a couple of venerable churches, a café called the Coffee Cup where generations of the town's residents have met for breakfast and to hash over ‘tomorrow's news today’, a tennis court, three parks (granted, they're not big parks), a gas station, a beauty shop and a top-notch volunteer fire department and emergency response team.
Funk is also home to CPI co-op which operates the town’s massive grain elevators and storage facilities, maintaining Funk as a significant grain shipment point in the state.
When the town's school was forced to close, a group of community supporters bought it and are turning it into a community center. In the meantime, parents can choose to send their children to nearby Holdrege or Axtell. Both are excellent school districts and provide bus service to Funk.
In the end, what makes Funk a charming, desirable place to live, is the people and the sense of community they've achieved. There is interest, excitement and eager volunteers for the community center project and capital campaign. No one doubts they will succeed and create a space the community will utilize and enjoy. Because this is Funk. People here just have a habit of making things work.
If you're looking for a town that combines indoors and outdoors, today and tomorrow, volunteer work and hobbies, consider Funk. It might be just the place for you.
- Approximately 7 miles east of Holdrege, the county seat.
- 204 people, 77 households, and 65 families living in the village.
- 37.7% of those familites have children under the age of 18.
- Median income for a household in Funk was $36,250, and the median income for a family was $43,333.
*data according to 2000 census
Greg Vandell, Chair
First Tuesday of the Month, 6:30pm
Phelps County Sheriff
Electric, Water and Sewer
Black Hills Energy
For more Phelps County businesses and services CLICK HERE
Drivers License and Vehicle Registration
Phelps County Driver Licensing Office
Phelps County Ag Center, East Room
1308 2nd Street, Holdrege
Hours: 8:00am- Noon, 1:00- 4:30pm
Every Thursday and Friday except State holidays
This is where you take driving tests.
Phelps County Treasurer
Phelps County Courthouse
715 5th Avenue
PO Box 438
Holdrege, NE 68949
This is where you get vehicle registration, plates and permits, and pick up your driver’s license after testing.
Funk photos courtesy Christensen Photography.