Settled as early as the 1850s and 1860s because of its fertile land and proximity to the Oregon Trail, expansion by the St. Joe and Denver City Railroad enticed more residents to move to the area. Early homesteaders Billy Smith and Edward Hawkes saw the potential for a town and platted it in 1880 when the post office was officially established. Railway officials named Endicott after William Endicott of Massachusetts, Secretary of War under President Grover Cleveland.
At its height, Endicott included a hotel built by the railroad and several businesses. The hotel still exists today, as does Smith and Hawkes’ log cabin, situated in the village’s park. The first school, taught in a dugout, was later replaced with a wooden structure in 1885. When fire destroyed that building in 1904, a two-story brick school was built at the same site and used for years as both and elementary and high school Though the high school closed earlier, the elementary remained in session until merging with Fairbury school district in 1922.