Skip to content
Home » US States » N » Nebraska » Red Willow County

Red Willow County


Red Willow County is named for Red Willow Creek which is a mistranslation of the Dakota Native American name “Chan-shasha Wakpala” meaning “Red Dog Creek” after the shrub which was abundant along the creek.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Frontier County

E – Furnas County

S – Decatur County, Kansas and Rawlins County, Kansas

W – Hitchcock County


Created:  February 27, 1873                  Map of Nebraska highlighting Red Willow County

County Seat:

Indianola    1873 – 1896

McCook     1896 – present


County Courthouse – McCook


Location:  502 George Norris Avenue / East E Street

Built:  1926 – 1927

Style:  Classical Revival

Architect:  Marcus L Evans of Hastings

Contractor:  Fred Swanson of McCook


Description:  The building faces east and is a three story buff colored Bedford limestone and concrete structure. The rectangular shaped building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of McCook. The building is faced with Bedford limestone on three sides, and the rear or west façade is faced with gray colored brick. The first story has horizontal stonework. The east front has a central entrance on the first story. Four large fluted columns rise from the second story to the top of the third story with recessed windows. A wide cornice runs below the flat roof line. In the interior, the floorplan is T-shaped. There is a symmetric arrangement, monumental proportions, smooth stone surface, prominent columns, unadorned parapet, rusticated and ashlar finish, and such classical elements as acroteria, fluted Doric columns, rosettes, and triglyphs. Among the notable interior elements are three art glass panels on the stair landing, including a personification of the Goddess of Justice. The County District Court courtroom is located on the east side of the third story. The courtroom has heavy moulded semi-circular pediments having cornice returns and consoles and are placed above five doors and three windows. There is attractive wood paneling on all walls, and the judge’s bench has Ionic pilasters and a pair of unusual Art Deco table lamps. The small County Court courtroom is located on the north side of the first story. The building houses the District Court and County Court of the 11th Judicial District. The building was remodeled in 1990. The architect was Lloyd Benjamin & Associates and the contractor was Carmichael Construction. On the west side of the building is the old County Jail and on the north side is the County Law Enforcement Center constructed in 2013 to 2014.


See:  The architect, Marcus L Evans of Hastings, also designed the courthouse in Saline County.


See:  The contractor, Fred Swanson of McCook, also constructed the courthouse in Saline County,


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Red Willow County Courthouse


See:  The 11th Judicial District includes Arthur CountyChase County, Dawson CountyDundy County, Frontier County, Furnas County, Gosper County, Hayes CountyHitchcock County, Hooker CountyKeith CountyLincoln County, Logan CountyMcPherson CountyPerkins County and Thomas County.


History:  The county was created in 1873 and Indianola was selected as the county seat. The Lincoln Land Company built a small frame building as the first courthouse. The second courthouse was built in 1880. In 1896, the county seat was moved to McCook (Fairview). The third courthouse was  designed by A M Leach and built in 1896 to 1897. The courthouse was torn down when the fourth and present courthouse was constructed in 1926 to 1927 at a cost of $235,000 which included the jail. During construction, the county moved into the Federal Building.



County Courthouse – McCook

























County Districft Court courtroom























County Court courtroom







Commissioner Minutes 1926







Old County Jail – McCook





County Law Enforcement Center – McCook







Photos taken 2010 and 2023