Cities, Towns, Villages
Angora; Bayard; Bridgeport; Broadwater
Morrill County is among the handful of Nebraska counties that was organized after the turn of the 20th century. For many years this area in the central Nebraska Panhandle was part of a larger Cheyenne County. But in 1907 the first steps were taken to organize Morrill County when the citizens along the northern boundary of Cheyenne County petitioned the Board of Commissioners to approve a separation.
A special election was called for Nov. 3, 1908, and the proposal was approved by the local electorate. Nine days later a proclamation officially creating Morrill County was signed by Gov. George L. Sheldon. The county was named after Charles H. Morrill, who was president of the Lincoln Land Company.
Morrill County is the home of many prominent Nebraska landmarks. Chimney Rock, Courthouse Rock and Jail Rock, and the Mud Springs pony express, stage coach and telegraph station were all welcome sights to the weary travelers who in the mid 1800s followed the Mormon Trail, Oregon Trail and Deadwood Trail. Today, these landmarks are popular tourist attractions.
Like many other counties, the 1904 passage of Kinkaid Act attracted many new settlers to the area. These settlers found the high table lands bordering the North Platte River Valley ideal for raising grain. The excellent meadows in the northern part of the county were excellent for cattle ranching.
In the years that immediately preceded the official organization of Morrill County, the railroads began pushing through the area. The first line was built by the Burlington Railroad in 1889 from Alliance to Guernsey, Wyo. In 1917 the Union Pacific Railroad built its line from North Platte to Gering, dissecting the entire county. Both rail lines resulted in the numerous townsites developing and prospering.
One of these townsites to benefit from the railroad was Bridgeport, the county seat, which was established in 1900.