Nebraska Historical Marker: Broken Bow

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Nebraska Historical Marker: Broken Bow



401-499 S 10th Ave, Broken Bow, Custer County, Nebraska

View this marker's location 41.402037, -99.64194

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Marker Text

A discarded Indian bow suggested the name for a town. Wilson Hewitt, an early homesteader, had applied for the location of a post office on his place. Approving the location, the government rejected Hewitt's first three suggested names as being too similar to names previously approved. Remembering a broken bow recently found nearby, Hewitt then submitted the name "Broken Bow," which the Post Office Department readily approved. This area was the center of what eventually came to be known as the Sod House Frontier. As homesteaders began to enter this largely treeless region, they made their first homes of prairie sod, which they cut into strips. Early churches, schools and some business places were also made of sod. Homesteaders used sod to construct corrals, henhouses, corn cribs, wind breaks, and even pig pens. One enterprising Custer County resident even constructed a full two storied sod house while others were usually a single story or story and a half. As the region became more settled, Broken Bow grew, and in 1882 became the county seat of Custer County. That same year, Mr. Jess Gandy donated the sites for the county courthouse and for the city square.

Further Information



Elton A. Perkey, “Perkey’s Nebraska Place Names” (1995), Nebraska State Historical Society

Marker program

See Nebraska Historical Marker Program for more information.