Many of the Nebraska counties have been named in honor of famous people. Yet Box Butte was named for a large rectangular butte that can found just six miles north of Alliance. In the early days, Box Butte was actually a part of Southern Dawes County. Today Box Butte has more people than the original county that once contained a part of it and is now one of the larger Nebraska Counties.
The towns of Box Butte …
As you could maybe guess, Alliance is the county seat and the largest town by far, topping out at almost 9,000 people. Possibly their name came from Ohio. But I like this version better… Burlington Railroad Superintendent G.W. Holdrege wanted a single word name for this town and felt like this community was going to be important so he picked a name from the beginning of the alphabet. Through the years, Alliance has lived up to expectations and is still one of the BNSF railroad hubs.
Other current towns …
Berea which was named for a town in Ohio. Hemingford was named for Hemmingford, Quebec, Canada. The post office forgot to check the spelling which is why the Nebraska town only has one “m.” Letan was a railroad station that once was but evidently a few people still call the community home.
One of the most unique name origins for a town has to be this one. Nonpariel – named by Editor Eugene Heath for the six-point type that he used for his newspaper. As one person evidently pointed out, the town settlement was small just like the type.
Towns that once were …
Afton was possibly inspired by the Robert Burns poem, “Flow Gently, Sweet Afton.” Unfortunately the town’s life had much less impact than the poem.
First Sodville, then Lawn – the grass did not make this town greener or last longer.
One site that can no longer be seen by the public is the Running Water Stage Station site. Part of the Sidney Black Hills Stage Route in operation from 1874 to the 1880’s. To learn more about the history of this historic route, you will want to visit this site.
Today in Box Butte County …
The county seat has the most going on. Alliance’s goal is “To Build the Best Hometown in America.” Once you visit, you will see that they are well on their way to achieving this goal. Besides being a great place to live, they provide you with many great places to explore should you choose to visit. Click on the link below to see the many varied opportunities.
On my recent trip, I decided to briefly visit at the Knight Museum and Sandhills Center. After staying an hour, I realized that my plan to just stop in did not work very well. I was so impressed with this museum. They have recently updated the exhibits, and they did an outstanding job. A wonderful place for both kids and adults to explore.
Alliance has several more places to explore and enjoy. Here you will find the Alliance Commercial historic district, and the beautiful Box Butte County Courthouse. The Central Park Fountain is also a longtime fixture.
One of the most famous Nebraska landmarks is found just outside of Alliance. Carhenge pays tribute to that ancient monument of long , Stonehenge. To see more pictures of this iconic landmark, please click below.
Another great place to visit is the reservoir named for the county that it calls home.
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.