Cities, Towns, Villages
Brewster, Dunning, Halsey, Purdum
The early 1800s brought a handful of the first homesteaders to this area of the Sandhills. But their dreams quickly faded as they soon discovered the soil in this region was not conducive to dryland farming. With the light soil and lack of rainfall, they packed up and headed for areas better suited to raise crops.
A year before the Legislature defined the boundaries of Blaine County, George Washington Brewster came to the area and homesteaded along the North Loup River. It was 1884 and Brewster invested a small fortune of his personal wealth to build a town and construct a bridge across the river. From this new town he began The Brewster News. Within two years, two additional newspapers -- The Ladora Independent and The Blaine County Democrat -- also were being published. Today, however, the county is without a newspaper.
When the county was created by the Legislature on March 5, 1885, it was named in honor of American statesman James G. Blaine. In November of the following year the first election was held and Ladora was named as the county seat. In the general election of 1887, Brewster became the county seat and two years later a courthouse was built. That building served the citizens for 18 years before burning to the ground in 1907. The following year a new courthouse structure was built and the same building serves the citizens today. Between 1967 and 1976, an addition was made to the building and the courthouse interior was completely remodeled.
Blaine County gained a bit of notoriety on Jan. 10, 1888 when D.C. "Doc" Middleton was granted the first license to sell "Malt, Spirituous and Vinous Liquor."
The land of Blaine County today remains much like it was found by the early settlers. Native grasses cover many acres and ranching is the county's main industry. There is, however, some irrigated crop land interspersed throughout the 714 square miles. A portion of the Nebraska National Forest is located on the west side of the county.