From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Rock County (Nebraska) Courthouse

Life in the Nebraska Sandhills...



Rock County Courthouse, Bassett, NE

A small but steady stream of visitors come to Prairie Bluestem, hoping to find images of the Rock County Courthouse in Bassett, Nebraska. Search engines send them here because I once linked to a photo of the Rock County courthouse as an example of an Art Deco structure.

I came across the above snapshot a few days ago in a box of photos. It was taken about five years ago. It shows the courthouse from a different angle, so it might be interesting to the folks who are seeking info about the building.

According to the Nebraska Historic Building Reconnaissance Report (pdf file):

The first court house built in Rock County was destroyed by a fire in 1899 and the second was torn down to make room for the court house built in 1939. This court house was constructed at a cost to the county of $30,000 with the assistance of a $33,000 Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) grant.


I haven't been inside the Rock County Courthouse for at least 35 years, and I retain only a few, vague memories of the building:

  • Sounds echo slightly in the hallways, probably because of the hard stone (?) or ceramic (?) floors.
  • I had a macabre fascination with the barred windows of the jail in the basement of the courthouse when I was a child.
  • The office of the County Superintendent of Schools in the courthouse had a small library of teacher resources (filmstrips and more). These materials were much appreciated by rural teachers and students.


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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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