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Nebraska County Countdown 69: Dawes County

Dawes County has a great number

Here we are again talking about a county my amateur historian roommate knows a lot about. Be sure to check in tomorrow when Keith County is discussed because he spent last summer there so he’ll give me some great information, but today is all about Dawes County. Dawes was founded in 1885 and was named after former Governor James W. Dawes. It was apart of the unorganized area of northwestern Nebraska until February 19, 1877. There were a couple other counties in this area and Dawes separated from the others eight years later on February 19, 1885. Originally Dawes County was home to some Native American tribes including the Ogallala and the Brule Sioux.

In the 2010 United States census Dawes County recorded having 9,182 which is up by about a hundred from the census of 2000. The only two cities in Dawes County are Chadron and Crawford. As a college student I’ve heard Chadron State College is a pretty big party school, anybody who is in the know will have to let me know if that’s true in the comments. Other than Chadron and Crawford there is a village called Whitney. Along with those three there are some “unincorporated communities” which are: Bordeaux, Dakota Junction, Horn, Pine Ridge and Marsland. In my opinion, one of the coolest parts of Dawes is that it houses a semi-ghost town by the name of Belmont which was hit hard by the Great Depression.

Dawes County is also home to the Nebraska National Forest Pine Ridge Ranger District. This forest protects the Pine Ridge landscape, which is steep rocky hills with valleys that are covered in pine trees. This landscape is unique because it is one of the few habitable spots for mountain lions in Nebraska. This is also the place Nebraska where hunting mountain lions has been allowed in the past, and there is going to be a new season in 2019. So hunters, if you’ve ever wanted a chance to hunt mountain lions in Nebraska wait until next year and head over to Dawes County.

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