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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Dakota County

Cities, Towns, and Villages

County Seat: Dakota City

South Sioux City


Courthouse Address and Hours:
1601 Broadway Street
Dakota City, Nebraska 68731
M-F 8:00am-4:30pm

Chairperson: Janet Gill

Senator: Joni Albrecht

Board Meetings: Every other Monday of each month

Population: 21,241
View Additional Census Data


Historical records of Dakota County officially begin in 1862 when the area was separated from Burt County and this new county's boundaries were defined by members of the Territorial Legislature. But this area along the Missouri River in the northeast corner of Nebraska actually can be traced back to the late 18th century.

According to historical accounts, a fur trading post known as Fort Charles was established along the river in 1795, long before the area would become Dakota County. Some historians claim this trading post was the first business to be located within the area that would become the State of Nebraska a full 72 years later.

Dakota County derives its name from the Dakota Sioux tribe. The most common interpretation of the word Dakota means allies or brothers.

Roughly 50 years before the first county boundaries were established, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark passed through the area during their journey up the Missouri River. At the time the area was primarily known only to members of the Dakota tribe.

The original county boundaries in this area of the state were actually created in 1855. The following year the Territorial Legislature named the Missouri River settlement of Dakota City as the county seat. In 1858 some settlers in the area sought to relocate the county seat to a more central location. An election was held, with St. John's challenging Dakota City for the honor. When the votes were counted the final tally read 263 for St. John's and 260 for Dakota City. Since a majority to relocate the county seat was not achieved, it remained in Dakota City.

Early settlers included William James, who in 1871 became Secretary of State, and John Taffe, who would later go on to serve in Congress.

The first courthouse was built in Dakota City in 1870. Seventeen years later the townsite of South Sioux City was incorporated several miles to the north. In the years that followed, South Sioux City made several attempts to become the county seat but each time Dakota City prevailed.