The Lincoln County Courthouse is located at 301 North Jeffers Street, North Platte, NE 69101; phone: 308-535-3500.
Discovery and Exploration 
Many early explorers ventured through present-day Nebraska and some of the initial assessments were not positive. Pierre and Paul Mallet "explored the valley of the Platte in June, 1739, tracing the river as far west as the forks." The Mallet brothers were soon followed by another set of siblings, the Choteau brothers—Pierre and Auguste from St. Louis, Missouri. The Frenchmen, who were traders and trappers, were attempting to establish trading posts and traversed the confluence of the North and South Platte Rivers in 1762. Other more well-known explorers would soon follow. The famous Lewis and Clark expedition in the early 1800s declared that the land was unproductive, and just a few years later (1806) Zebulon Pike explored along the Republican River and compared the plains in Nebraska to the deserts in Africa. Soon enough the label "Great American Desert" had been applied to much of the region, and Nebraska was "considered to be nothing more than an uninviting wilderness with few streams, and for the most part consisting of treeless, waterless plains unfit for cultivation, and consequently useless to civilized man." However, these negative reviews did not prevent other individuals from exploring the region and present-day Lincoln County.
In 1819, Major Stephen Long's expedition sponsored by the federal government explored the area adjacent to the two forks of the Platte. After Long came Colonel Henry Dodge who camped in present-day Lincoln County in 1835 and visited the area with the intent of "inducing the Arickaree Indians, then occupying this region, to abandon their wild life and become civilized." In 1843 Colonel John C. Fremont led his expedition up the Platte and spent the Fourth of July camped at the present-day site of North Platte.