Still home to a faithful few
Located approximately 20 miles west of Sterling, Willard is home to a faithful few who choose to live in a rural area off the beaten path. There are a few occupied rural properties on the paved road leading to the community and it has an active rural fire department. But, for the most part, the town itself is completely abandoned. You can still see the old granary and a few old storefronts. The town was originally planned and established in 1888 by the Lincoln Land and Townsite Company of Lincoln, Nebraska. That particular attempt at settlement failed and the town was abandoned but was replatted in 1910. In 1914 the Willard Methodist Episcopal Church was built and was the first church between Sterling and Cheyenne, Wyoming. In its prime time, Willard was home to three grain elevators, two garages, two general stores, a blacksmith, and a hardware store. In the 1950s an attempt to drill for oil was tried and, after drilling over 5000 feet, the project was abandoned.