The Pony Express, a mail delivery service that operated from 1860 to 1861, passed through Nebraska, carrying mail from Missouri to California.
Howard County, Nebraska has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1871. Settlers from the eastern states began to arrive in the area, drawn by the promise of fertile land and abundant natural resources. The county was named after General Oliver O. Howard, a Union Army officer and champion of civil rights.

In its early years, Howard County relied heavily on agriculture, with farming and ranching becoming the primary industries. The construction of railroads in the late 19th century further stimulated growth, allowing for increased transportation of goods and people. This development led to the establishment of towns such as St. Paul, which became the county seat in 1878.

The county saw significant growth throughout the 20th century, with advancements in technology and infrastructure. The advent of irrigation systems significantly increased agricultural productivity, transforming the rural landscape. The construction of highways and bridges improved connectivity, facilitating trade and tourism. The discovery of oil and natural gas reserves in the mid-1900s also provided an additional source of employment and income for the county.

Today, Howard County is a thriving community with a diverse economy that includes agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare. The county is also known for its natural beauty, with the scenic Loup River flowing through its western border and numerous outdoor recreational opportunities available. With a population that values its heritage and looks towards a prosperous future, Howard County remains a vibrant and welcoming place to live, work, and visit.

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

  • 1857: Howard County was established on February 27th as one of the original counties in Nebraska Territory.
  • 1871: The town of St. Paul was founded as the county seat.
  • 1872: The first courthouse in Howard County was constructed in St. Paul.
  • 1873: The Wood River Railroad reached St. Paul, greatly improving transportation and trade in the area.
  • 1887: The population of Howard County reached its peak at over 11,000 residents.
  • 1911: A new courthouse was built in St. Paul to replace the original one.
  • 1935: The Howard County Historical Society was founded to preserve and promote the county's history.
  • 1952: The Howard County Fair began, becoming an annual event that celebrates the agricultural heritage of the area.
  • 1965: The Howard County Genealogical Society was established to assist individuals in researching their family history.
  • 1985: The St. Paul Scandinavian Festival was started to showcase the Scandinavian heritage of the community.
  • 2018: Howard County celebrated its 160th anniversary since its establishment.