The railroad was responsible for the founding of Amherst.
The Great Northern Railroad was plotted through Amherst and grading started in 1886. The first post office was opened in 1887 and is still in operation and the actual town of Amherst was plotted out in 1888. It is said that Amherst derived its name from a surveyor, a graduate of Amherst College, who serveyed the town plot.
Being located in a good farming area and on the railroad line, Amherst grew into a good trading center. Over the years Amherst served the community with three general stores, a hardware store, bank, lumber yard, three different elevators, two implement shops, blacksmith shop, hotel, restaurant, pool hall, church, meat market, depot, dance hall, and a newspaper.
Due to fires and better transportation the town has decreased in size to the present day of one church, a garage, elevator, post office and tavern.