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Buffalo County, NE

Buffalo CountyAlthough Nebraska Territory was not created until 1854, the area was already well-known as the main east-west route along the Platte River. Westward travel on the Oregon, Mormon, and California Trails had reached such proportions by 1848 that Fort Kearny was established to protect travelers on the trails.

In the fall of 1872, the village of Kearney Junction was formed paving the way for the City of Kearney to be incorporated a little over a year later.

The first courthouse of Buffalo County erected at Gibbon in 1873. In 1874, after considerable agitation for the relocation of the county seat, an election was held, and a majority was cast for the relocation of the county seat at Kearney. The incident which followed the results of that election is often referred to as "stealing the courthouse records." With the results of the election already in, the County Clerk, Joseph Scott, and his deputy, F.G. Keens, loaded the county records in a farm wagon, considerably after normal business hours and arrived in Kearney about 2:00 a.m. where they were hidden in the "Chandler Building" where the Telephone Company is today. Mr. Keens stood guard over the records for the rest of the night.

The Union Pacific Railroad donated a site for a new courthouse, and built a frame building which was not occupied until January of 1886. This building served as the Buffalo County Courthouse until a new county courthouse was built and completed in 1890. The frame courthouse was then moved to a new location on First Avenue and served first as a WCTU hospital and later as a home for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Complete histories of Buffalo County are exhibited and recorded at museum's in Kearney and Gibbon and The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument is a "must see" as the only museum that spans an interstate highway and brings the history of life along the westward trails in chronological dioramas putting you right alongside the pioneers and listening to their stories.

Explore Buffalo County

Dr. A. O. Thomas House

The Thomas House was designed by Nebraska architect George A. Berlinghof in 1906 in the Neo-Classical Revival style. Dr. A. O. Thomas, a native of Illinois, was the first president of the Kearney State Normal School, now the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Kearney, NE Historic Buildings



Museum of Nebraska Art

The Museum of Nebraska Art houses the state's only collection of paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints created solely by Nebraskans or artists concerned with Nebraska as the subject. Enjoy quality invitational and traveling exhibits as well as creative exhibits of the museum'

Kearney, NE Museums

Hanson-Downing House

The Hanson-Downing House, built in 1886

Kearney, NE Historic Buildings

Rowe Sanctuary

This 1,150 acre wildlife sanctuary is operated by the National Audubon Society to provide habitat for sandhill cranes, whooping cranes and other birds. In March and April, Rowe staff guides groups to four crane viewing blinds (enclosed wooden buildings), which accommodate 16 to 36

Kearney, NE Wildlife Refuges

Tri-City Storm Hockey Team

Hockey fever is sweeping the nation and the cities of Kearney, Grand Island, and Hastings are proud to join in. Part of the United States Hockey League, the Tri-City Storm took to the ice for the first time in 2000. A new 97,000-square-foot facility houses the new team and loyal fans.

Kearney, NE Professional Sports

Fort Kearny State Recreation Area

Campers will find south-central Nebraska's Fort Kearny State Recreation Area much to their liking. Once called Kearney County SRA, this recreational area boasts excellent camping facilities. The attractive 152-acre area was acquired by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in 1960

Kearney, NE State Recreation Areas

John Pesek Sculpture

A famous native of Ravenna who at one time was the wrestling champion of the world and also trained racing greyhounds. His sculpture with two of his dogs is located north of the mini park on Grand Avenue.

Ravenna, NE Memorials

Hike-Bike Bridge Crane Viewing

The Hike-Bike Bridge at the Fort Kearny State Recreation Area is an excellent crane viewing location open to the public. The viewing location is an easy 1/3

Kearney, NE Recreation


Kearney United States Post Office

Completed in 1911, the Post Office Building is a fine example of the Neo-Classical Revival style. It was designed by James Knox Taylor. Taylor's education and early practice was in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1897 he became the supervising architect of the U.S. Treasury.

Kearney, NE Historic Buildings

Explore Buffalo County