Cities, Towns, and Villages
County Seat: Pawnee City
Courthouse Address and Hours:
625 6th Street
Pawnee City, Nebraska 68420
M-F 8:00 am - 12:30 pm; 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Chairperson: Ronald Seitz
Senator: Julie Slama
Board Meetings: Every other Tuesday
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As one would conclude, Pawnee County and the county seat of Pawnee City were both named after the Pawnee Indians who inhabited the area. According to history, Turkey Creek, near where Pawnee City is located, was a popular campsite for the tribe.
The county boundaries were defined by the Legislature in 1855, redefined the following year, and reapproved in 1862. The first election was held in 1856 and it was decided that Pawnee City would serve as the seat of the government. The decision was made to build a courthouse, but due to continuous delays and a lack of funds, the two-story structure was never completed. Deteriorated to the point where it could not be repaired, the building was eventually leveled by strong winds in 1860.
Nine years later, efforts were renewed to build a permanent structure and a two-story limestone building was completed at a cost of just over $15,000. Despite some remodeling and renovation projects, the courthouse proved to be too small. In 1911, $85,000 in bonds were approved for the construction of the present courthouse. Once again made of limestone and brick, the building features a decorative relief sculpture over the building's main entrance.
The earliest settlers of record to make a claim in this area were from Ohio. When they found no land available in Missouri, Christian Bobst, Robert Turner, Jacob Adams and Robert Archer crossed over into the Nebraska Territory and settled along the south forth of the Nemaha River, located in the far southeast corner of the county. The four settlers named the area Cincinnati, in honor of the city in their native Ohio. The area, however, would never progress to their expectations and eventually ceased to exist as a settlement.
In more modern times, the advancement of farming throughout the area and the coming of the rail lines helped Pawnee County established itself. Today, the rolling green prairie that greeted the first settlers has given way to prosperous family farming operations.