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America's Loneliest Counties

Stories and Stats from The Least Populated Most Remote Rural Counties in the US

 

See the full list Updated April 2014

 

 

Arthur County, Nebraska

Population: 458

Seat: Arthur

The Hay Bale Church and the Tiniest Courthouse in America

Arthur County id the fifth smallest county in America (by population). Best known as home to the Baled Hay Church, and the smallest court house in the United States, which serves as a museum.

The Pilgrim Holiness Church, located in Arthur, was built in 1928 of baled rye straw. Baled hay or straw proved an alternative to lumber or sod as a building material and was used throughout the Sand Hills. The structure is the only known church built of baled straw, and the building is a unique example of Nebraska folk architecture.

The one story Arthur County courthouse was built of wood in 1914 and was used until 1962 when a new facility was built. The smallest courthouse now serves as a museum.

Nebraska Life describes downtown Arthur as a Main Street with a gas station, a body shop, Rose Saddlery, Graham's Ranch Supply, an art gallery, a fledgling co-op grocery, a meat market, a bank in an 18 by 26-foot concrete block building, another museum in a former courthouse that's not much bigger than the bank, and the Long Branch Tavern. If you know where to look, there's even a motel, the Bunk House.

In the 2004 presidential election, Arthur County was one of the most Republican-leaning counties in the country; 90.2% of its electorate voted for Republican incumbent George W. Bush (compared to 9.1% for Democratic challenger John F. Kerry).

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