Cities, Towns, Villages
Bellevue; Gretna; LaVista; Papillion; Springfield
Sarpy County has the honor of having within its boundaries the oldest settlement on record in Nebraska. It was a trading post set up on the bank of the Missouri River in 1805 by Spanish adventurer Mauel De Lisa. According to historical accounts, upon his arrival De Lisa was so taken by the natural beauty of the area that he exclaimed, "Belle vue."
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark had actually visited the area the preceding year during their famous expedition to find the headwaters of the Missouri River. But De Lisa is credited with being the first white settler in the area.
In 1810, the American Fur Company established a trading post on this site. Col. Peter A. Sarpy was placed in charge of the post and it is in his honor that the county was eventually named. Traders for hundreds of miles to the north and west brought their furs to the post. The West Coast gold rush of 1849 brought a second wave of trading action to the area.
When the Indian title to the land expired in July 1854, the area was opened to pioneers for settlement. A short time later a steam ferry across the Missouri River went into operation to enhance immigration.
Sarpy County was once considered a part of Douglas County. On Feb. 7, 1857, the Legislature adopted an act to separate the two and create Sarpy County. For many years Bellevue served as the county seat and in 1861 a courthouse was built.
A settlement on a plateau just west of Bellevue began to develop. In time Papillion and Sarpy Center had grown from being "crossroads" to becoming villages. In 1874 the first attempt was made to move the county seat. During a special election, Sarpy Center was victorious. But before a courthouse could be built, an election in October 1875 changed the location to Papillion. After raising about $10,000, a courthouse was built in Papillion that same year. It would serve the county until 1922, when a second structure was built. The third and present courthouse was dedicated in 1975.