About Lincoln County
Land Area: 2,564 square miles
Population (2010): 36,288
County Seat: North Platte
- Brady, 428
- Dickens, unincorporated
- Hershey, 655
- Maxwell, 312
- North Platte, 24,733
- Sutherland, 1,286
- Wallace, 366
- Wellfleet, 78
- North Platte Public Schools, North Platte
- Brady Public Schools, Brady
- Maxwell Public Schools, Maxwell
- Hershey Public Schools, Hershey
- Country Center District #44 Public School, North Platte
- Sutherland Public Schools, Sutherland
- Wallace Public School, Wallace
Lincoln County History
On Jan. 7, 1860 the Territorial Legislature approved the boundaries of Shorter County, the forerunner to Lincoln County. In those days this area was the site of considerable hostilities between the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians and the federal government moved in troops to provide protection for the growing number of settlements along the Platte River Valley.
To accommodate the troops, Fort McPherson was built near Cottonwood Canyon in 1863. In addition to controlling Indian tensions, the soldiers stationed here also were assigned to protect dignitary hunting parties that would occasionally come to the area. Buffalo Bill Cody, a name deeply embedded in the history of this area, served as scout and guide for many of these hunters.
The county was officially organized in 1866 and the name was changed to honor President Abraham Lincoln, who had been assassinated the previous year. The county’s boundaries would be redefined again in 1871 to reflect its present dimensions.
Another name long associated with Lincoln County is that of the Union Pacific Railroad. As the railroad pushed west in the 1860s, North Platte developed into one of the prominent railroad towns along the route. It maintains that status today. The railroad’s early influence contributed immensely to the development of the county. Evidence of this can be seen in the following excerpts from one of the company’s advertisements:
“Union Pacific Railroad … has land grants direct from the government … 1,500,000 acres of choice farming lands on the line of the road … in the Great Platte Valley. Now for sale for cash or credit at low rates of interest. Convenient to markets both east and west. Prices range from $2.50 to $10.00 per acre.”
In 1867 the county seat was moved from Cottonwood Springs to North Platte. The county’s first courthouse was built in 1874. After the turn of the century plans began being made for the present courthouse, which was completed in 1920.