Louis J. Brooks, born in La Porte, Indiana, in 1890 moved to Rushville, Nebraska with his mother and father, J. N. Brooks, a machine manufacturer and part-time Methodist Minister, and remained there until 1910.
In 1910, he married Mabel Johnson and they homesteaded in Bennett County in 1915. After proving that homestead, they moved to the present Brooks ranch. During the years, the Brooks family developed an extensive and financially successful farm unit, including both crops and livestock.
Throughout his life Louis Brooks has been active in community activities, and even more so now that he has more time. “I only retired from ranching,” Brooks says, “not from work.”
Landscaping the Martin City Park was one of his favorite projects. The park, an 8-acre lot on the edge of town came about mostly through Brooks’ efforts as park board chairman.
The unique point about the park is that almost every plant, flower, or tree was bought with direct donations from the citizens of the Martin community.
This method of obtaining the plants is actually the key to Brooks’ philosophy of life. “I suppose if I had wanted to build a memorial to myself, I could supply everything needed in the park,” he says.
This same kind of thinking has been the key to success in other of Brooks’ projects, dating back to when he instigated and ran the Bennett County Fair from 1936 to the start of World War II.
Brooks’ community spirit was also instrumental in 1953 in getting more rigid inspection of combines coming into the state along the southern state line, and when he was county weed supervisor in 1955 and 1956.
The Martin man was also largely responsible for the first Bennett County Crop Show in 1957. He spent eight hours a day for one month of his own time gathering seed for that show.
The people of Bennett County showed Brooks their appreciation when they presented him with a “Man-of-the-Year” award in 1957 for “Outstanding service rendered to the community.” Only one other award has been made of this type in the county.