Historical Markers in
Butler County, Nebraska

The University of Nebraska was founded in 1869, just two years after Nebraska became a state.
Butler County, Nebraska, is located in the central part of the state. Its history dates back to the mid-1800s when settlers began to establish farms and communities in the area. The county was officially organized in 1868 and named in honor of David Butler, the first governor of Nebraska.

In the early years, agriculture played a significant role in the county's development. The fertile soil provided ideal conditions for farming, and crops like corn, wheat, and soybeans became the mainstay of the local economy. As the county grew, rural communities were established to support the agricultural industry. Small towns like David City, the county seat, and Brainard flourished, with the addition of businesses, schools, and churches.

Butler County also played a role in transportation history. In the late 19th century, the Union Pacific Railroad laid tracks through the county, significantly improving transportation access. Railways provided opportunities for farmers to transport their products more efficiently and allowed for the growth of trade and commerce in the area.

In later years, Butler County experienced changes and challenges. With the rise of mechanization and modern farming techniques, the county's agricultural landscape evolved. Family farms gave way to larger operations, and the population shifted from rural to more urban centers. Nonetheless, agriculture remains a vital part of the county's economy, adapting to new technologies and market demands.

Overall, Butler County's history is closely tied to the land and the people who have called it home. From the early settlers carving out a living from the prairie to the modern-day farmers embracing innovation, the county's story is one of resilience, adaptation, and a deep connection to the land.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Butler County, Nebraska.

  • 1857: Butler County was established by territorial legislature
  • 1871: The first courthouse was built in the county seat of David City
  • 1872: Union Pacific Railroad reached the county, boosting economic development
  • 1884: The town of Brainard was officially incorporated
  • 1922: Leonidas Jewell became the first Nebraska-born Governor of the state, hailing from Butler County
  • 1944: The first rural rural telephone lines were installed in Butler County
  • 1970: A devastating tornado struck David City, causing significant damage
  • 1994: Butler County celebrated its 125th anniversary with various events and festivities