Cities, Towns, Villages
Bennet; Davey; Denton; Emerald; Firth; Hallam; Hickman; Kramer; Lincoln; Malcolm; Martel; Panama; Raymond; Roca; Sprague; Waverly
In 1856 a government surveying party made a discovery that would lead the way to the organization of Lancaster County. As the surveyors crossed the rolling hills they encountered a wide creek that, upon closer examination, revealed a series of salt basins stretching more than six miles in a northeasterly direction. The creek would become known as Salt Creek and the value of these salt basins, some of which measured one mile in diameter, was quickly realized. Great wealth was anticipated for those who could create a suitable operation for harvesting the salt.
The years that followed yielded little progress and it was not until passage of the Homestead Act that settlers began making their way to the area.
Lancaster County's boundaries were first established by the Territorial Legislature in 1855 and redefined the following year. When organization efforts were conducted, a settlement known as Lancaster was named as the county seat. Lancaster would eventually become known as Lincoln, in honor of President Abraham Lincoln, while the county would retain the name Lancaster, after Lancaster, Pa., and Lancaster, England.
As with many other counties, the railroads played an important part in the area's early development. But what possibly helped the area the most was when Nebraska was admitted to the Union in 1867 and the quiet village of Lancaster was selected to become the home of the State Capitol. What followed were years of growth and prosperity.
A developing agricultural base throughout the county led to Lincoln's growth as a retail hub. Education quickly followed with the University of Nebraska being created. Today there are five universities and colleges in Lincoln. Manufacturing is also an integral part of today's economy.
The growth of the county and Lincoln resulted in voters approving in 1965 the construction of one building to house both bodies of government. Approximately four years later the County-City Building was officially opened and still houses most of the county and city government offices.