Arthur County in Nebraska
County officially established on March 31, 1887, yet was considered a part of McPherson County until a second legislative act in 1913.
County seat: Arthur
Nebraska license plate number: 91
Arthur County is not the smallest Nebraska county in area, but they do have the smallest number of people. Less than 450 people live in this county. This means that over 150 Nebraska towns actually have more people than the entire Arthur County. In fact, Arthur County is potentially one of the five smallest counties in the whole United States. Arthur is also the name of the only town with enough people to be officially counted. You can still find the very small communities of Bucktail, Calora, Lena and Velma, although I cannot tell if any of them actually have post offices anymore.
Both the county and the town were named for President Chester A. Arthur. Bucktail does imply the county presence of deer. Calora is a combination name for Carl and Aura Crouse, the postmaster and his wife. Lena was named either for the postmistress or the first school teacher in the area – both ladies shared the name Lena. As for Velma, the town was named for the postmaster’s daughter.
Former Arthur County towns
Carman for an area Methodist minister.
Collins for Charles J. Collins, former postmaster. Interestingly the original post office was made out of sod.
Glenrose for the wild roses found in the area.
Melrose was also named for area roses.
Current Arthur County towns
Arthur – named for President Arthur
Bucktail – initially Cullinan (ranchers and mercantile owners). Buckingham was the town choice – the U.S. post office thought that Bucktail (named for area antelope and deer).
Calora – initially Carlaura for Carl and Aura Crouse. The U.S. post office liked Calora better.
Velma was in Garden County – named for the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Redlinger
Arthur County has a very interesting history beyond just this … read more here.
Arthur County Today
Besides the beautiful Sandhills region scenery, the main attractions are found directly in Arthur.
- The Pilgrim Holiness Church, found in Arthur, is constructed/insulated using straw bales.
- The initial Arthur County Courthouse was one of the smallest courthouses in the nation until it was replaced in 1961. You can visit this small shack and the nearby jail as a part of your Arthur County tour.
Note: To research the Nebraska county histories, along with any linked sites, I primarily consulted the book, Perkey’s Nebraska Place Names by Elton A. Perkey. If you would like to learn even more about Nebraska place history, you will want to get a copy of this book.