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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

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


Great Platte River Road Archway Monument

The only U.S. attraction to span an interstate highway, the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument is a fantastic link to the past. Its eight stories span a distance where trappers, pioneers, the 49

Kearney, NE Museums


John Barnd House

The John Barnd House, located in Kearney, is a large two-and-one-half-story frame dwelling built about 1892, and a good example of the Queen Anne style. Barnd came to Kearney in 1874, established a law practice, and later was elected Buffalo County judge for two terms. In 1888

Kearney, NE Historic Buildings

Historic Frank House

The Frank House, built by George Washington Frank, was constructed in 1889. The three-story house listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is made of red Colorado sandstone, with English golden oak interior paneling and lumber, and hand carved woodwork and has seven fireplaces (10

Kearney, NE Historic Homes

Kearney Golf

Buffalo Ridge Golf Course - 2,960-yard, par 36, nine-hole public course on gently rolling hills northeast of Kearney. Open year round with rental carts and clubs. Green fees: Weekdays - $13.00; Weekends - $15.00. 7005 Avenue N 308-271-3233 Meadowlark Hills Golf Course - 6,485-yard, par 70, 1

Kearney, NE Golf Courses

Trails & Rails Museum

The Buffalo County Historical Society/Trails and Rails Museum traces the history of transportation through Buffalo County on a site where the Mormon Trail once passed. Displays include a Union Pacific steam engine, an 1898 depot, 1898 church, 1880s Freighters' Hotel, an 1871

Kearney, NE Museums

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


Sandhill Crane Migration

Fossil records reveal the sandhill cranes have been visiting this region for more than nine million years. For five weeks each spring, visitors to the Platte River valley in south-central Nebraska can enjoy the symphony of sounds and dancing rituals of 90 percent of the world'

Kearney, NE Natural Attractions

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

Explore Buffalo County