This natural valley extending east and west across the Sandhills became known as Survey Valley after the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad surveyed a prospective line from O'Neill to Alliance in 1887. No rails were ever laid. On January 19, 1909, Survey Post Office was established about eight miles west of here in the home of John C. Jones, the first postmaster. A carrier delivered and picked up mail twice a week. The post office moved a short distance to the homes of subsequent postmasters in 1913 and again in 1931. Survey Post Office was closed June 30, 1934.
Survey Valley settlers acquired land under the 1862 Homestead Act and, more often, under the 1904 Kinkaid Act, the latter sponsored by Nebraska Congressman Moses P. Kinkaid. They established a close relationship with the town of Hyannis in neighboring Grant County. A portion of John W. Shackelford's homestead located in Section 16, Township 27, Range 38 was set aside as a local cemetery. Eight children, several of whom died in infancy, and three adults were interred there between 1910 and 1917.