County History


Between 1873 and 1889, three different county seats served the inhabitants of Gosper County. These continuing changes were due to shifts in population that occurred during the 16-year period. As one might imagine, each relocation of the county seat did not go unchallenged.

A growing interest in having an organized county government for this area culminated when a petition requesting such was filed with Gov. Robert Furnas in July 1873. A month later a proclamation was issued for the county's organization and the name of Nebraska Secretary of State John J. Gosper was chosen as the county name. Daviesville, the site of the area's first post office, was named the county seat. It would not be until March 2, 1881, however, that the county's organization was legalized and its boundaries officially established by the Legislature.

In November 1873, county commissioners, who had been elected less than four months earlier, authorized the construction of a courthouse in Daviesville. They did not, however, appropriate the necessary funding and as a result a courthouse was never built. For a number of years, officials kept county records and books in their homes.

During those years a new settlement known as Homerville was developed with the anticipation that the railroad would pass through it. Rapid growth of the settlement led to an election in August 1882, and Homerville became the county seat over two rivals. But the railroad never came to Homerville.

When the Burlington Railroad advanced westward toward Colorado, a townsite known as Elwood was platted in 1885. It was just three years later that a bitterly contested election ended with Elwood becoming the county seat. Homerville's businessmen and inhabitants followed the courthouse to Elwood, which today serves as the county seat. Fifty years after the local government offices were relocated to Elwood, voters approved a $42,000 bond issue to match a Public Works Administration grant to build the current courthouse.