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Boone County, located in the heart of Nebraska, is a place steeped in history. From the days of the pioneers to modern times, the county has played a significant role in shaping the state's cultural, social, and economic landscape. Here are seven interesting facts about Boone County in Nebraska history.

1. Lewis and Clark’s Expedition

Lewis and Clark, the famous explorers, traveled through Boone County in August of 1804. They were on their way to the Pacific Ocean, and the county was part of their journey along the Missouri River. The explorers recorded their impressions of the landscape and the people they encountered in their journals, leaving behind an invaluable record of their travels.

2. Homesteading

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Boone County was home to many homesteaders who claimed land and started families. The county's fertile soil and rolling landscape provided ample opportunities for farming, and many settlers took advantage of these conditions to establish farms and ranches.

3. The Norwegian-American Community

Boone County is home to a thriving Norwegian-American community, which dates back to the late 1800s. Many Norwegian immigrants settled in Boone County, bringing with them their culture, traditions, and language. Today, the Norwegian-American community is still vibrant, and the county celebrates its Norwegian heritage with festivals and cultural events.

4. The End of the Wild West

Boone County is also known for its connection to the end of the Wild West. In 1911, notorious outlaw Bill Doolin was killed in a shootout with law enforcement officers near Burwell, a town located in Boone County. The incident marked the end of an era and signaled the beginning of a new, more settled time in the American West.

5. The Creation of the Nebraska State Flag

Boone County played a significant role in the creation of the Nebraska state flag. The flag was designed in 1925 by a Boone County native, Florence Hazen Miller. Her design was selected from a statewide contest and eventually became the official state flag. Today, the flag is a symbol of pride for Nebraskans and represents the state's unique history and heritage.

6. World War II Connections

During World War II, the Boone County area was home to a significant military presence with the establishment of the Grand Island Army airfield. The airfield trained thousands of pilots and played a critical role in the war effort. Many residents of Boone County played a part in the war effort by serving in the military or working in industries that supported the effort.

7. Connecting East and West by Rail

Boone County played an essential role in connecting the East and West of the United States by rail. In the late 1800s, the Union Pacific Railroad established a major line that ran through the county, connecting the Midwest to the West Coast. The railroad brought economic growth and development to the county and played a significant role in shaping its history.

In conclusion, Boone County is a fascinating place that has played an essential role in Nebraska's and the United States' history. Its connection to Lewis and Clark, homesteading, Norwegian-American community, the end of the Wild West, the creation of the Nebraska state flag, World War II efforts, and rail transport is just a small part of Boone County's rich history. Visit the county and explore its historic sites, museums, and landmarks to learn more about its fascinating past.

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