The Story Behind Nebraska’s ‘Ghost Counties’ Will Leave You Baffled

If you were to look at a map of the brand new state of Nebraska 149 years ago, you may have been looking at a picture of ghosts…ghost counties, that is. At the time, western Nebraska was still wild and sparsely populated, and not many people really knew what was out that way. Popular mapmaking company Colton printed maps with six counties in western Nebraska that did not exist…and the mistake wasn’t caught and corrected for a decade.

For more than a century, no one knew how the imaginary counties came to be on the Nebraska map. Then Western Nebraska Community College English instructor Brian Croft dug into the archives of the Nebraska State Historical Society and found the old legislative bill. For the entire story, be sure to check out this article in NebraskaLAND magazine.