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Nebraska County Countdown 65: Box Butte County

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We visit the heart of the Panhandle, Carhenge, and enjoy watching a Wisconsin defense whiff tackles.

carhenge nebraska Jill Heemstra

County 65 on our countdown to to Husker football is Box Butte County.

The population is 11,308 and the county seat is Alliance. Other communities in the county include Hemingford, and Perea. The county was formed in 1886 when the public voted to separate it from Dawes county. The original name of Alliance was “Grand Lake”, but it was changed in 1888 when railroad executives wanted a one-word name. Alliance was chosen, partially to raise the name toward the top of alphabetical lists in the state.

Not surprisingly, the county was named after land features in the area (many flat-topped hills) and not a human. The Box Butte Reservoir is located north of Hemingford.

box butte county

The most famous attraction in the area is Carhenge, located just outside of Alliance. Carhenge is a “replica” of the famous Stonehenge monument in England, except this one is made entirely out of junk cars. It also includes something referred to as a “car art preserve” in which sculptures are made out of cars or car parts. Enjoy a few pictures from my family’s visit to the site a few years ago. If you want, you can check out a live webcam of the site.

carhenge Jill Heemstra
car art preserve at carhenge Jill Heemstra
a sculpture resembling a dinosaur in the carhenge car art preserve Jill Heemstra

Hemingford’s recent history is tied closely to its location on the railroad. From the “Virtual Nebraska” website:

Starting as an agricultural town, Hemingford has remained so through the years. A skimming station set the record of handling the greatest volume of milk and cream of any place in Nebraska, and it was thought also in the nation. The Farmers’ Creamery made and shipped butter to Chicago in 1913-15. The population then was about 1,000, the same as it is in 1987. In 1929 Hemingford had the largest shipping record for carlot agricultural shipments of any town on the Burlington Railroad.

Husker “65” Trivia:

  • Current Husker wearing 65 - Christian Gaylord
  • Who wore it best? Joe Armstrong (1968; 1st team) and Randy Theiss (1982; 3rd team) were both named All-American offensive linemen while wearing 65.
  • The 1965 Cornhuskers followed Bob Devaney to a 10-1 record and were named Big Eight champions. Their only loss came to Alabama at the Orange Bowl. The team was quarterbacked by Fred Duda. One of the linebackers for that team was none other than Barry Alvarez, who went on to raise Wisconsin football from irrelevance, first as a coach and then as athletic director. The halfback for that team? Frank Solich. Another famous name from the 65 team is Tony Jeter, Sr., a tight end who went on to a short NFL career.

Enjoy this short video highlight as Duda faked out the defense and went for a 59 yard touchdown run vs Wisconsin.