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Nebraska County Countdown 28: Hamilton County

Check out the realm of Tom Kropp and General Devalan. Relive the 1983 Husker victory vs Oklahoma.

hamilton county nebraska courthouse

Welcome to Hamilton County! It was founded in 1867, two weeks before Nebraska became a state. The county was named after Alexander Hamilton who was the first Secretary of the Treasury and considered one of the United States’ founding fathers. He was also famous for being illegitimate, a slower shot than Aaron Burr, and a modern Broadway star.

The Map

map of nebraska with counties outlined and hamilton county highlighted

The county had 9,124 residents as of the 2010 census. The county seat is Aurora. According to the official county website:

Aurora was named county seat in a hotly contested fight with Orville City in 1867.

Other communities include Phillips, Giltner, Marquette, Stockham, Hampton, and Hordville. Overland is listed as a “census-designated area.” Note there is no Orville City. Now you know why it was such a hotly contested fight.

The town of Aurora was named after Aurora, IL, and founded by a group of seven Iowa men. Despite these disadvantages, the town has produced Husker football players including Tyson Broekemeier (QB; punter 2012-15), Austin Allen (redshirt Fr TE), Todd Honas (So WR) and I’m sure there are others I missed. Another famous Aurora athlete was Tom Kropp who went to Aurora High School, played at Kearney State College, and went on to play two seasons in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Bullets.

The courthouse you see in the cover picture was built in 1895 and is a beautiful building. Since the photo editor will crop the photo based on the device, I re-used that and added another photo below.

hamilton county nebraska courthouse public domain
hamilton county nebraska courthouse public domain

If you visit Hamilton County, check out the Plainsman Museum in Aurora. The exhibits include a school, blacksmith shop, caboose, and the home of General Delavan Bates. General Bates died in Aurora in 1918 and earned fame as a Civil War commander. He became the colonel of the 30th United States Colored Infantry and received serious wounds in a battle, for which he was later awarded a Medal of Honor.

The town of Giltner went through many early identity crises. Originally named Huntington, the post office requested a change due to mail being mixed up and sent to Hartington (in Cedar County). The town complied and chose Bromfied. Within three years, the post office requested another change due to mixups with Bloomfield in Knox County. From the Virtual Nebraska website:

The name of the town still did not suit the postal service, because of the town of Bloomfield in Knox County. There was constant havoc with the mail, but since their post office had not opened until 1890, there was considerable debate as to which one should yield and chose another name.

The name Giltner was chosen in 1895 and honored a local Presbyterian minister.

Another site to visit is the IOOF Opera House in the town of Hampton. From the Virtual Nebraska website:

The Hampton IOOF Opera House, built in 1893 on main street, provided the community with space for various groups of entertainers, school activities, dances, and civic meetings. Of special interest are the walls around the stage, said to be “a solid mass of names of persons who took part in the activities there.” In 1987 this building, whose upper floor has remained just as it was when it closed in 1928, became one of 26 opera houses now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. An auditorium was built in 1939 and continues to be the center of community activities.

Husker trivia related to 28:

  • Current Huskers to wear 28: DB Eli Sullivan and RB Maurice Washington
  • Who wore it best? Eric Hagg was a second-team All-America safety in 2010 and Jeff Smith was a second-team All America RB in 1984.
  • Nebrasketball’s James Palmer scored 28 points in a 74-63 win over Wisconsin in January. He also scored 28 in a 98-84 win vs Iowa in the same month.
  • 2017 Nebraska football allowed Iowa to score 28 points in a seven minute span of game time. 2017 Nebraska also rallied from a 28 point deficit to Oregon but ran out of clock and lost 42-35.
  • On a happier note, the 1983 Huskers (including the “Scoring Explosion”) beat Oklahoma 28-21 to give Tom Osborne his first undefeated regular season as head coach. That season culminated in a 30-31 loss to Miami in the Orange Bowl and included Osborne’s famous decision to go for two and the win rather than kick an extra point for the tie. Some highlights of the matchup vs the Sooner are below. Enjoy!

What did I miss? Let me know in the comments!