Cities, Towns, Villages
Located in the heart of the Nebraska Panhandle, Box Butte County is one of only two Nebraska counties to be named after a widely-recognized local landmark. The name Box Butte was chosen in recognition of the large box-shaped butte located approximately six miles north of Alliance, the county seat.
Originally part of Dawes County, Box Butte County was created by a vote on Nov. 2, 1886. A settlement known as Nonpareil was the earliest town in the county and became the first county seat. Later, the town of Hemingford in the north central portion of the county became the seat of government. Alliance became the third and permanent county seat following a bitterly fought election. With the influence the railroad had on the development of this area, it seems only fitting that the courthouse was moved by train from Hemingford to Alliance.
Alliance was founded in June 1887 and at that time was named Grand Lake. Within less than one year the site became the junction point for two lines of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. Superintendent G.W. Holdrege suggested that it be remained Alliance. His reasoning was that it was a single word, it was unlike the name of any other town in the state, and it would be near the beginning of the alphabetical list of towns in Nebraska. The name was readily accepted by the citizens so the town site was platted and a post office was established.
The railroad industry continues to play an important role in the county's economy today. However, of equal or greater significance is agriculture. More than 23,000 acres of crop land and meadows flourish in the county today. Principal crops include winter wheat, corn, sugar beets, beans, potatoes and sorghum. The county is also known for its livestock production. The Great Plains soil, combined with the ample rainfall the area normally receives during the April 1 to Oct. 1 growing season, makes Box Butte County one of Nebraska's most fertile farming and richest grazing areas.