could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

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County Court Houses

Gibbon Courthouse

Bond passed in April 1872


Opened Feb. 22, 1873

October 12, 1874 – vote after a bitter fight.
        Majority favored relocating county seat to Kearney – no record of # of votes for & against


Use of Gibbon Courthouse Building after County Seat was Moved

Used as an Academy established by Gibbon school Dist. 2 (basically their high school)
        Site of numerous Farmers’ Institutes

1882-1885 – Nebraska Baptist College, moved to Grand Island

1886-1889 – United Brethren collegiate institute, moved to York

1890’s – sold to Gibbon Dist. 2 for use as a commercial college

1908 – torn down & Gibbon high school built on the site.
        400,000 bricks from courthouse used in the high school

Moving County Seat to Kearney

One night soon afterward the vote – records were loaded on a farm wagon by Joseph Scott, county clerk, and his deputy, F. G. Keens, then 21 years old

Arrived in Kearney Junction about 2 a. m.

Records deposited in a heap on the floor in the Chandler building on Central Ave.

Guarded until morning by Mr. Keens

Following summer, about July 1, 1875 to January 4, 1876 – records moved to the R. R. Greer building also on Central.
        These two buildings were the sites of much of the early history of county government

District Court sessions were held in More’s Hall, west side of Central, first building south of tracks.

First courthouse in Kearney

An inducement to move county seat to Kearney
        South Platte Land company and the Union Pacific railroad company would donate a site for a court house

        Also they would erect a building

Site donated is the current site of the county courthouse

Deeded to the county December 27, 1875 for $1

In 1875 they erected a cheap frame building, two stories high
        First occupied by the county in January, 1876

County erected a small one story brick building beside the courthouse

        Had vaults for storage of county records

When the 2nd building was built, the first one was moved off site to a new location on 1st Ave, given a brick veneer, and used as the WCTU hospital

Second courthouse in Kearney


1889 – Plans for construction of a new courthouse
        June – A Gibbon resident unsuccessfully filed a restraining order against the county

                    to keep them from constructing a courthouse in Kearney

Feb. 1, 1890 – Construction had begun
        Size comparison – The courthouse occupies 269 feet less ground than the Opera House.

June 10, 1890 – Buffalo head made of sheet metal put into place on the new courthouse.

Plaque under it reads

County Court


18  House  90

July 12, 1890 – Streetcar tracks had been extended to the courthouse


Sept 5, 1890 (Friday) – County Treasurer & Clerk of the District Court moved into the new court house.
        Other offices would move in the following week.
        Furnishings – furniture natural oak – desks with matching swivel chairs, a table for each office, book cases.

District court room – 3rd floor - 8 foot desk for the judge with a “large and handsome chair behind it”
        several tables and cane bottom chairs.
        Opera seats for the audience.
        Venetian blinds in the windows of oak also.

Striped matting on the walls in the halls

Blackboard near the east entrance.

Statue of justice was placed on top
        Nine feet tall, blind, balance in left hand, sword in right

Oct 1933 – Court house caretaker built a new vault in the basement to store old county records.
No one ever looks at the old books, but it is against the law to throw them away or destroy them, he explained.
The scores of books must be stored in a safe place.


        [No one looked until local historians and genealogists began using them. 

         Many of those old books are now in the Buffalo County Historical Society Archives.]

And Also----July 28, 1933 - Retail committee of the chamber of commerce recommended all retail stores be open 58 hours a week,

Retail grocers in Kearney passed a resolution to have their stores open 58 hours a week, 8 to 5 weekdays and Saturdays 8 am to 9 pm.

Present (at that time) employment requirements were for 40 hour work week for employees.

So downtown grocery stores were forced to hire at least 1 or 2 extra men with the added expense being added to overhead costs.

Suburban stores adopted the schedule of being open from 6:30 am to 8:30 pm.

No store was open on Sunday


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Revised: 02/05/2018