This Nebraska town -- population 2 -- grew to 10 times its size for a Thanksgiving feast

The welcome sign reads "Gross, Pop. 2," but one of America's smallest towns has a lot more heart and holiday...

Posted: Dec 4, 2018 6:14 PM
Updated: Dec 4, 2018 6:14 PM

The welcome sign reads "Gross, Pop. 2," but one of America's smallest towns has a lot more heart and holiday spirit than its size suggests.

In its heyday, the tiny town of Gross, Nebraska, was home to more than 600 people. But when railways and highways were built, they skipped right over Gross.

Continents and regions

Holidays and observances

Midwestern United States

Nebraska

North America

Population and demographics

Population trends

Society

Thanksgiving

The Americas

United States

After neighbors moved away and children moved out, just two people, Mary and Mike Finnegan, still call the town home. For 33 years, the couple and their restaurant, The Nebrask Inn, have kept Gross on the map.

But this year, the town grew to 10 times its usual size when the couple, with help from Ancestry.com, organized a Thanksgiving feast to bring their family back together just before the holidays.

The genealogy website's researchers also scoured historical records to find descendants of the town founders -- the Gross family -- who were invited to the meal as surprise guests.

Reunions and celebrations are not unusual in Gross, which despite its teeny population has a constant stream of friends and visitors passing through its 80 acres to eat at the Finnegans' restaurant, famous for Mary's pan-fried chicken and coffee that costs a nickel. On Mondays, Mary bakes 10 homemade pies, which sell out by Tuesday evening.

"Gross is kind of the heart of the community," she said. "It's where everyone meets and has coffee to discuss the problems and the blessings of the day. It's just a very home-oriented place."

On the real Turkey Day, however, the town will have no one home at all.

The Finnegans' son-in-law, a police officer in a nearby Nebraska town, has to work on Thanksgiving, and the couple plans to drive to their daughter's house so they can celebrate together.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34211

Reported Deaths: 2125
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9761576
Lake3573186
Allen160069
Cass15877
St. Joseph126634
Elkhart126228
Hendricks116671
Hamilton115493
Johnson1097108
Madison58659
Porter53428
Bartholomew50834
Clark49741
LaPorte43023
Howard40428
Tippecanoe3933
Delaware38536
Jackson3821
Shelby37122
Hancock33127
Floyd31839
Boone31635
Morgan27824
Vanderburgh2662
Montgomery23817
White2338
Noble22821
Clinton2271
Decatur22431
Grant21022
Dubois1993
Harrison19422
Henry17211
Greene16924
Vigo1688
Dearborn16821
Monroe16712
Warrick16628
Lawrence15924
Miami1401
Putnam1367
Jennings1304
Kosciusko1271
Orange12622
Scott1193
Franklin1108
Ripley1086
Marshall1021
Carroll932
Daviess8516
Steuben832
Wayne785
Fayette777
Newton7710
Wabash772
LaGrange762
Jasper661
Washington521
Clay511
Jay500
Fulton491
Randolph473
Rush462
Pulaski460
Jefferson451
Whitley413
Starke393
DeKalb371
Sullivan351
Owen341
Brown331
Perry320
Wells310
Benton300
Knox280
Huntington272
Tipton251
Blackford252
Crawford240
Fountain212
Switzerland200
Spencer201
Parke170
Adams171
Posey160
Gibson152
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0167
West Lafayette
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 63°
Kokomo
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 58°
Rensselaer
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 59°
Fowler
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 59°
Williamsport
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 63°
Crawfordsville
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 62°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 64°
Delphi
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 59°
Monticello
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 59°
Logansport
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 57°
Cooler, less humid weather continues Sunday
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events