The area of the townsite was established on May 23, 1907 with the sale of 282.7 acres of land owned by Omaha newspaper editor George L Miller to the Ralston Investment Company. A year later the town was platted by future Omaha mayor Roy N. Towl. A petition to incorporate the property as a village was submitted to the Douglas County Board of Commissions on June 22, 1912, which was adopted by the Board two days later on June 24.
The still nascent village experienced a devastating blow to its development on Easter, March 23, 1913, when a tornado tore through the downtown area. The 1913 Easter Tornado was part of a March 1913 tornado outbreak sequence that ripped through the Southern and Midwestern regions of the United States.
In 1934, following a fire that destroyed half a city block, Ralston declared bankruptcy; it was one of the first cities in the United States to do so.