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Nebraska Counties Explorer

Dawes County

Dawes County Seat (pop.): Chadron (5,206)

Cities, Towns, and Villages (pop.): Crawford (840), Whitney (62)

Courthouse Address and Hours:

451 Main Street
Chadron, Nebraska 69337
M-F 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

County Board Chairperson: Valentin Rivera

Complete list of county board members

County Board Meetings: 2nd & 4th Tuesday

View the County's Government Maps

Visit the County Fairgrounds

NACO District: Northeast

District President: Monica Rotherham, Madison County Clerk of the District Court

District Vice President: Lisa Lunz, Dixon County Supervisor

District Secretary: Sandy Zoubek, Stanton County Treasurer

District Treasurer: Krista Nix, Knox County Deputy Clerk

NACO Board Representatives: Bill Tielke, Holt County Supervisor

Click for a live look at Dawes County (south of Chadron)


Population: 8,148
Land area (sq. mi.): 1,396.39
Population per square mile: 5.9


White: 83.8%
African American: 2.1%
American Indian: 5.0%
Asian: 1.7%
Hispanic: 6.3%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.4%


0-17: 17.6%
18-64: 62.8%
65+: 19.6%


Personal income per capita: $47,375
% of Population in Poverty: 14.7%
# of Housing Units: 4,005
Owner-occupied rate: 63.5%
Median home price: $147,880


Access to broadband (100 Mbps via fiber or cable modem): 29.9%

Sources: National Association of RealtorsNebraska Library Commission, U.S. Bureau of Economic AnalysisU.S. Census Bureau

Employment, Schools, and Child Care

Unemployment rate: 1.6% (as of September 2022)

High school graduate or higher: 94.0%

Bachelor's degree or higher: 38.2%

County Employment Website:

School Districts: Chadron Public Schools, Crawford Public Schools, Hay Springs Public Schools, Hemingford Public Schools, Sioux County Public Schools

Countywide child care capacity: 17 providers; 289 children

Find child care: For a list of child care providers in your zip code, visit Nebraska DHHS or the Nebraska Resource and Referral System.

Dawes County Economy

Annual Gross Domestic Product (2020): $306,294,000

Ag. Producers (Cattle): 261

Ag. Producers (Crop): 79

Grain Co-ops and Purchasers: WESTCO

Local Grain Market: Click for today's grain prices in Dawes County

Electricity Providers: Nebraska PPD, Niobrara Electric Association, Inc., Northwest Rural PPD

Rail-served Communities: Belmont, Chadron, Crawford, Marsland, Whitney

Sources: National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA), Nebraska Cooperative Council, Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary EducationNebraska Department of TransportationNebraska Office of the CIO, Nebraska Power Review Board, U.S. Bureau of Economic AnalysisU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau

2022 Levies and Valuation

County levy rate: $0.3923 per $100 of taxable valuation

County property taxes levied: $4,074,969

Total local government property taxes levied: $17,499,486

Total countywide taxable valuation: $1,038,844,388

Click here for all levy rates in Dawes County

County Levy and Taxation Laws

Levy limits

Since 1996, counties and other political subdivisions have been subject to the levy limits listed in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-3442 and Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-3443.

Statutes and regulations

Nebraska Revised Statutes (Chapter 77)

Nebraska Administrative Code (Title 350)

Local tax reductions, exemptions, and credits:

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-902(5)(a) (Deed "stamp tax" exemption): "The [stamp tax] shall not apply to: ... (5)(a) Deeds between spouses, between ex-spouses for the purpose of conveying any rights to property acquired or held during the marriage, or between parent and child, without actual consideration therefor."

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-201(2) (Valuation of agricultural land and horticultural land): "Agricultural land and horticultural land as defined in section 77-1359 shall constitute a separate and distinct class of property for purposes of property taxation, shall be subject to taxation, unless expressly exempt from taxation, and shall be valued at seventy-five percent of its actual value, except that for school district taxes levied to pay the principal and interest on bonds that are approved by a vote of the people on or after January 1, 2022, such land shall be valued at fifty percent of its actual value."

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-6703(1) (Tax credit for school district taxes paid): "(1) For taxable years beginning or deemed to begin on or after January 1, 2020, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, there shall be allowed to each eligible taxpayer a refundable credit against the income tax imposed by the Nebraska Revenue Act of 1967 or against the franchise tax imposed by sections 77-3801 to 77-3807. The credit shall be equal to the credit percentage for the taxable year, as set by the department under subsection (2) of this section, multiplied by the amount of school district taxes paid by the eligible taxpayer during such taxable year."

Sources: Nebraska Department of Revenue

State Senator: Tom Brewer (District 43)
Committees: Agriculture, Business and Labor, Government, Military and Veterans Affairs

Map and statistics for Legislative District 43

Map of all districts in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Dawes County History

Number of Registered Historic Places: 15

Year Founded: 1885

Etymology: James W. Dawes (Nebraska’s 6th governor)

Dawes County is noted for it beautiful pine forest ridges and for being home to the historic Fort Robinson, the "Outpost of the Plains" that was established by the United States Army in 1874. Today, Fort Robinson is one of Nebraska's most popular tourist and vacation attractions.

In the 1870s, the area that would become Dawes County was inhabited by two large divisions of the Sioux tribe. The Brules were located at the Spotted Tail agency on the White River, while the Ogalalas were at the Red Cloud agency just east of Fort Robinson. Toward the end of the 1870s and into the 1880s, cattlemen came to the area to lay out ranches.

Since the lands were unsurveyed and belonged to the public domain, the unwritten law of the land at the time was the first to establish a ranch on a certain creek or in a certain locale was entitled to sufficient range for his needs. The "range" boundaries were well defined and no one encroached upon the rights of his neighbor. Small ranches would have 500 head of cattle, while others were as large as 2,000 to 5,000 head. While the unwritten law of the land worked well, these ranchers had no legal rights to the land.

In 1882, the cattlemen received word that two railroads were going to extend their lines through the territory and that the government was about to survey the area with the intent of opening the lands for legal entry and settlement. With a new era on the horizon, open range ranching began to give way to the grain farming of the new homesteaders. By 1885, the cowboy era had virtually come to an end.

Dawes County was officially organized that same year, when it was split from Sioux County. It was named in honor of Gov. James. W. Dawes. The issue of locating a county seat was hotly contested between Chadron and Dawes City, which would become Whitney. Chadron became the seat of local government by a narrow margin in a special election. Two years later, in 1887, the county's original courthouse was build for approximately $35,000. The present courthouse was constructed in 1936.

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License Plate Number: 69

Time Zone: Mountain

Zoned County: Yes

Number of Veterans: 699

Voter Turnout (2022): 62.73%

Emergency Mgt. Planning, Exercise and Training (PET) Region: Panhandle

Number of County-Owned Bridges: 48

Number of County-Owned Dams: 1

State Lands (acres): Bighorn WMA (1,270.65), Bordeaux WMA, Box Butte Reservoir WMA (1,955), Chadron Creek Ranch WMA (2,529), Chadron State College (281), Chadron State Park (974.26), Fort Robinson State Park (22,332.72 Sioux & Dawes), Ponderosa WMA (4,831)

Federal Lands (acres): Ogalala National Grassland (94,397 Sioux & Dawes), Ogalala National Grassland (94,397 Dawes & Sioux), Pine Ridge Ranger District National Forest (40,947)

Sources: Nebraska Department of Transportation, Nebraska Emergency Management AgencyNebraska Game & Parks CommissionNebraska LegislatureNebraska Office of the CIONebraska Secretary of StateU.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (eCFR)