Boone County in Nebraska
County seat: Albion
Established on March 28, 1871, by legislative enactment.
Nebraska County License Plate Number: 23
Boone County can be found on edge of the Northeast part of Nebraska. Located right below Antelope County, I think I have managed to go around this county, rather than actually visit. (Someday that will have to change!) Boone County was named in honor of Daniel Boone, the famous frontier huntsman from Kentucky. (This is a popular county name – you can find Boone County in West Virginia, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and of course Kentucky.)
Boone County History …
Originally Boone County served as hunting grounds for the Pawnee and Sioux. Other than surveyors, the white men had left this part of Nebraska alone. According to the Boone County site, this all changed when a man from Columbus (Sam Smith) was searching for a lost herd of stolen horses sometime in the late 1860’s. Not sure if his quest for the horses was successful, but evidently he was impressed with the area. In 1871, he and five men returned to do some more exploring. Most of the men were unconvinced of the land’s value except S.D. Avery who would return several more times to explore and eventually would build a sod house along Beaver Creek – the first known dwelling for a white man.
Picking the county seat was a problem for Boone County as well. Vying for the possibility were the only two places that already had post offices: Boone (the town) and Albion, which had been named in honor of a town in Michigan. Albion won through an election process and is still the county seat today.
Former Boone County towns
Akron – named for the much larger city of Akron, Ohio.
Dennison – for a city in Iowa? Or Texas? Or a college in Ohio? The name origin disappeared with the town.
Dublin – named for the capital of Ireland. Name eventually changed to Primrose – for a person, not a flower.
Current Boone County towns
Albion was named for a town in Michigan.
Cedar Rapids – named for its location near the Cedar River. Formerly Dayton. Evidently many people moved to this county from Ohio.
St. Edward – named for a Catholic priest (Edward Serrels) who served at Notre Dame. First the town was Beaver in honor of a nearby creek, and the beavers who called the water home. Then changed to Waterville – possibly for the same stream?
Boone County Today …
The Albion post office is one of 12 Nebraska locations to have a WPA mural. To learn more about the artwork, “Nebraska in Winter” by Jenne Wagafan and to see the painting, please visit this site.
Olson Nature Preserve is located just outside between Albion and Petersburg. Exploring the 112 beautiful acres is a great way to connect with nature. Learn more and explore.
While visiting Cedar Rapids, make sure not to miss their combined City Hall and Library building. St. Anthony’s Church and School are also worth driving by to see. Another church, the St. Bonaventure Complex, located just outside of Raeville, features many lovely buildings and a beautiful grounds.
One place you want to check out is the Petersburg Jail – a brick building from 1902.
A fun annual event happens also this time of year in Petersburg … Punkin Chunkin. This is the 12th year to experience this fun family festival. Here is the description from their Petersburg Punkin Chunkin Facebook page.
Petersburg Punkin’ Chunkin’ is an event where competitors enter their machines to shoot, launch, throw or fling a 6 to 12 pound pumpkin. The distance is then measured by GPS to determine a winner. Divisions include air gun, mechanical, trebuchet and catapult.
Happening that day:
*Adult and Kid pie eating contest…
*Aerial Pumpkin drop
*Great Pumpkin Shoot out
*Kids’ Launching contest
Enjoy this clip of Punkin Chunkin in the News.
You may want to check out the Boone County Raceway next spring/summer. Looks like a fun way to enjoy a nice evening.
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.