Antelope County Courthouse

501 Main St

See the route

The Antelope County Courthouse in Neligh in Antelope County, Nebraska, was built in 1894. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. As of 1980, it was one of the oldest courthouses still in use in Nebraska.

Neligh, founded in 1873, eventually won out over Oakdale, Nebraska as county seat, and county offices were moved to rented buildings in Neligh in 1883. The first towns in Antelope County, Oakdale and Neligh, engaged in a 10-year feud over the county seat location. In 1871, Oakdale settlers failed to stipulate a county seat during an election for the county's organization, while John Neligh's messenger carrying the petition to name Neligh as the county seat lost his way en route. In 1872, state officials declared Oakdale the county seat. Neligh challenged their choice in four elections and won the final vote in October 1883. Neligh began serving as the government center on January 1, 1884. After a mill levy passed, work began on the official structure, with the total cost not to exceed $1,500.

The building was designed by George E. MacDonald of Lincoln, Nebraska, but the plans were found to be incomplete, and Fred Thornton of Neligh completed the drawings. Construction by contractor J. N. Mills started on August 2, 1894 and was completed January 11, 1985.

It originally had a large clock tower rising to 100 feet in its center, surrounded by four pyramids at each corner. The tower was supported by arched trusses. The tower was removed in 1964, while the pyramids remain.

The Antelope County Courthouse is one of the oldest courthouses in Nebraska. The brick building, located in Neligh, was erected in 1894-95 in the Romanesque Revival style. The original four-sided clock tower that crowned the roof was removed in the 1960s.