Furnas

History

The pride and enthusiasm that early settlers placed in locating the seat of local government was possibly nowhere more evident than in Furnas County. Events there showed just how strong the emotions could become.

When Robert W. Furnas became governor in 1873, the Legislature adopted an act to organize an area along the Kansas border and name this latest county in his honor. The influx of settlers that had preceded the Legislature's action had already resulted in the settlements of Arapahoe and Beaver City being established. So when the county's first organization election was held on April 8, 1873, ballots were cast at both sites.

Election results from Arapahoe were filed with the Secretary of State's office within the appointed time limit. The returns from Beaver City, however, were delayed en route to Lincoln because of a heavy snowstorm. As a result, Beaver City's ballots did not arrive until after the day on which the ballots were counted. The Secretary of State issued certificates of election of officials in Arapahoe and ruled that settlement to be the county seat. What followed was a series of court orders and bitter political fights between the settlers in the north and south parts of the county.

A court quickly ordered the Secretary of State to canvass the Beaver City votes and issue certificates of election to the candidates who received the highest vote from the combined returns of Arapahoe and Beaver City, and to designate as the county seat the site that received the greatest vote

A second election was held the following October. This time, Beaver City was declared the victor. Inhabitants of Arapahoe continued to claim victory based on the April election. It took three years of legal challenges before the Supreme Court ruled that Beaver City was indeed the county seat. Continued dissention delayed the building of a courthouse until 1888.

The first courthouse stood for 60 years before being declared unsafe for occupancy in 1948. The courthouse was dismantled the following year and after the county offices were housed in various downtown buildings for two years, the current courthouse was dedicated on May 4, 1951.