Cities, Towns, Villages
Dalton; Gurley; Lodgepole; Potter; Sidney; Sunol
The development of Cheyenne County can be attributed to early America's desire to move westward. The Oregon and Mormon Trails brought scores of setters through the area in the 1840s, while the advancement of the Union Pacific Railroad 20 years later provided an even greater contribution.
Although the two famous trails actually flanked the area that today is Cheyenne County, many early pioneers followed Lodgepole Creek from Julesburg, Colo., to the site of present day Sidney, then turned north to connect with the Mormon Trail. The Pony Express would also follow the Lodgepole Creek route.
In 1867, when the Union Pacific pushed toward the Wyoming border, the southern part of the county began to develop more rapidly. Sidney was laid out as a division point and became home to a U.S. Army infantry company assigned to protect the railroaders. The Army's presence also benefited the growing number of cattle ranchers who had come to the area.
Cheyenne County was actually created in June 1871. The county was literally the southern half of the Panhandle. In 1888, the western third was divided to create Kimball, Banner and Scotts Bluff Counties, while the eastern third became Deuel County. Twenty years later, in 1908, the northern portion was designated as Morrill County.
With heavy traffic along the trails and on the railroad, Sidney experienced a wild era. Raucous behavior and a growing number of robberies prompted increased military protection for the area and resulted in the Sidney Barracks, which became Fort Sidney. World War II brought to the county the Sioux Ordnance Depot, a 19,000-acre munitions storage facility northwest of Sidney. This construction led to an economic boom in the 1940s, as did the drilling of the first successful oil well in the area.
Today, America's east-west travel still contributes to the area's growth. This time it is thanks to Interstate 80. Agriculture and cattle production are keys to the county's economy.