Keith County has always been a
“Mecca” for history. A gateway to the American West, it has been traversed by
pioneers, Indians, military, trappers, cowboys, and ranchers alike. Even today,
it still catches the eyes of tourists and businessmen for its location to the
Prior to Keith County's
incorporation, it was home to the mighty Sioux and Cheyenne Indians. Once
filled with large game, it was the perfect hunting ground for these Plains
Indians. The North and South Platte Rivers played an integral role in the
lifestyle and hunting patterns of these Native Americans.
The South Platte River, in particular, played
a key role in the migration and settlement of the American West. Prior to the
1850's, the first white explorers were fur trappers seeking the furs of local
wildlife in the river valley. The land that would one day become Keith County
saw its share of these men as they traded and established forts in the
area. The most famous fort in the area was Geminian Pierre Beauvais
Trading Post established in 1849 near California Hill. Beauvais traded a great
deal with trappers and Indians in the area.
years passed, Keith County has grown to a population of about 8,000 residents.
Ranching and farming still remain a large part of the economy. Beginning in the
1930's the construction of the states largest lake was created to provide
irrigation for farmers in the area. Even today the lake remains an important
resource to Keith County's economy. The main branch of the Union Pacific
Railroad travels right through the heart of Keith County. Other major highways
include Interstate-80, Highway 30, Highway 61, Highway 92, and Highway 26. No
matter the year, Keith County will remain a gateway to the American West.