Public Facilities

Wednesday, April 17, 2024


Banner County was the first county in the state to have a county-wide school district. The county has a high school, middie school, and an elementary school located in Harrisburg. The 4-day Preschool program is the only early childhood development program in the county.

Banner County School provides meeting and activity space for local organizations such as 4-H, Mat Cats, and the Banner County Historical Society. Student organizations and sports are extracurricular activities that contribute to the community by developing character and leadership among students and opportunities for community members to interact at events. School programs include: FFA, National Honor Society, Cats Committed, STUCO, Speech, One Act, Quiz Bowl, MathCounts, Spelling and Geography Bee. The athletics roster includes football, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, track, and cross- country. The school facility is available to county patrons by request.

Emergency Services

Residents of Banner County are served by dedicated volunteers in both the Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services.

Banner County Fire Department covers most of the county. McGrew Volunteer Fire Department covers the northeast section of about 9 square miles. Banner County has a Fire Chief and about 46 trained volunteers. The equipment includes a Class A pumper, 3 Type 6 fire engines, and 2 Type 4 fire engines. There are 30 fire hydrants located in Harrisburg.

The courthouse is equipped with a generator to provide shelter for extreme weather or power outages.


The Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area and Nature Center is on the northern border of Banner County and Scotts Bluff County. The recreation area has some of the most scenic views in the state, in addition, it has hiking trails, camping, and picnic shelters. The Wildcat Hills Shooting Sports Complex is a new addition to the area.

Banner County Historical Museum

The Banner County Historical Museum is located in Harrisburg and is the home of the Flowerfield School. In partnership with Educational Service Unit #13 (ESU13) in Scottsbluff each Fall, area fourth graders attend school as it was in 1888. Students wear period clothing, bring their lunches in “lard buckets,” and do penmanship with a quill pen and ink. Each year, approximately 800 students get a peek at what life was like in pioneer days.

The museum consists of a main building with hundreds of artifacts and articles from the prehistoric through the pioneer “sodbuster” days. Featured displays are a completely furnished kitchen, living room, and bedroom. An iron lung, a still, and many Native American artifacts are included in the collections. The museum grounds feature an old Monitor windmill along with a machine shed, a furnished log house, a church, a general store, the Flowerfield School building, a drug store, the first bank in Harrisburg, a gas station, and the latest addition is a large barn. A shelter with tables is available for picnics.

The museum hosts a Historical day on the first Saturday in June each year with a parade, various speakers, vendors, and games for the kids. Everyone is welcome to come and spend the day and then enjoy a carry-in supper in the evening.

The museum is open on Sunday from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The museum can be visited at any time by making an appointment with one of the board members. Phone numbers are displayed at the museum entrance.


There are four churches in the county:

  • Harrisburg Community Church, Park St., Harrisburg
  • Good Shepherd of the Plains Episcopal Church, Park St., Harrisburg
  • Kirk Chapel, CR 14 & CR 61
  • Primitive Baptist Church, CR 8 approx. 2 miles west of Hwy 71


There are several cemeteries in Banner County-some with active boards and others that are used occasionally:

  • Pleasant Hill Cemetery (SW4 30-20-57), located in northwest part of the county, was laid out in 1888 and is an active cemetery which also includes several Civil war Union soldiers.
  • Gabe Rock (NE4NE4 3-18-57), located west of Harrisburg, was deeded as a cemetery in 1896 and is an inactive cemetery.
  • Kirk Cemetery (NE4 30-18-53), located in the southeast part of the county, was deeded February 5, 1902 as the Swedish Mission Church and is an active cemetery.
  • Chalk Creek Cemetery (Hackberry) (NW4 12-18-53), was deeded March 10, 1911 and is active.
  • Cemetery of Harrisburg, located southeast of Harrisburg, was deeded February 22, 1895 and is used occasionally.
  • Epworth Cemetery (SE4SE4 20-18-58), was deeded February 14, 1910 and is used occasionally.
  • Deaton Hill has 4 burials and is inactive.
  • Duncan (Big Horn) (NW4 12-18-54), was deeded September 2, 1902, has 4 burials and is inactive.
  • Heath Cemetery (Lone Pine) (SE4 4-17-54), was deeded September 28, 1901, reported to be the burial for Calvary soldiers killed in Banner County and is inactive.
  • Jenson Cemetery (NW 32-19-56) has 8 burials and is inactive.

Water System

Public water in Harrisburg meets all federal and state government regulations on public drinking water and provides an abundant supply of quality water that consistently meets the needs of the village’s residents and school.

The North Platte Natural Resources District (NPNRD) is charged with enforcing the groundwater regulations in Banner, Scottsbluff, Garden, Morrill, and southern Sioux counties. When pivots became economical and available to turn formerly dryland acres into irrigated acres, many pivots were installed in Banner County. A moratorium was placed on drilling new wells in Banner — County in 2001 in order to preserve ground water and surface water irrigation.

Consequently, the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources considers much of Banner County overdeveloped: the equivalent of the Over Appropriated area (OA) of the NPNRD along the North Platte River. The vulnerability of the groundwater is measured in depletion levels to the river, or in this case depletions to Pumpkin Creek, which is a tributary of the North Platte River. Areas closer to the creek have a higher depletion factor than those away from the creek. A special management area was established along Pumpkin Creek and its tributaries with an allocation of 12 inches per acre per year of groundwater allowed to be applied to certified acres in the areas with the highest depletion factors. Further out away from the creek is the Fully Appropriated (FA) area, where there are no allocations, but all of the other rules (i.e., certified acres and flowmeters) must be followed. There are other ways of administering the allocation, as allocation periods allow for averages to be used spanning several years. Designated Allocation Units allow for uses of wells on multiple pivots.

Early in the 20" century it was thought that perhaps an irrigation canal diversion project from the North Platte River or Horse Creek would come down through Banner County south of Lyman and there would be surface water irrigation in Banner County. Surface water canals and irrigation would also help recharge the groundwater as it does along the North Platte River. This scenario never developed, and most of Banner County remained dryland. There were irrigation rights on a limited number of acres using surface water from Pumpkin Creek. Several small dams were installed for diversions of surface water from the creek. As the creek receded over time these irrigation rights became useless. Although it had run strongly up until the late 1960s, the groundwater development, changing geology, and changing weather gradually dried up Pumpkin Creek. This led to more steps being taken to preserve the groundwater, as the NPNRD was accused of not doing enough to alleviate the situation.

The red obelisk-shaped metal boxes seen near many roadways in Banner County are monitoring wells, used to monitor groundwater levels throughout the NPNRD. These are measured each spring and each fall to keep track of the changing groundwater levels in that area. Recently, a nitrate study has been initiated using samples taken from the monitoring wells to measure nitrates in the groundwater. Samples have been taken from all of these wells and will continue to be taken as part of this study. Some of the southern part of Banner County drains toward — Lodgepole Creek instead of Pumpkin Creek. This in the FA area. The monitoring wells are located there and throughout the NPNRD to represent all drainages.

Within the last few years there have been some significant changes in geology or groundwater flow patterns in some parts of Banner County. Throughout much of its length, Pumpkin Creek is flowing again. In some areas, the creek had not flowed at that location in 40 years and is now flowing. Some certified acres are now flooded, causing landowners to change irrigation, certified acre, and pivot layouts. Water has come to the surface of the ground in some fields about 1% miles south of Pumpkin Creek on both sides of Highway 71. Evidence of this is water standing on both sides of the highway. Cattails and young trees are growing in fields and pivots because it is too swampy for the farmers to work the field or for the pivot to complete the circle. This water slowly drains towards the creek but cannot escape quickly enough from the fields to drain them. Evidence of this water build-up is seen for another % of a mile to the south, especially in the fields on the west side of the road.

In both the OA and the FA areas, acres of irrigated cropland are certified and the wells that supply them must be registered. No new acres of irrigated cropland may be added, and no new irrigation wells may be drilled unless they are a replacement of equal or less capacity than the original well, which must be decommissioned or reduced in capacity to less than 50 gallons per minute. There are pivots in the far west end of the county that cannot draw enough water to meet the allocation and must be farmed accordingly, some drawing 6-10 inches before running out of water.

No one seems to know what has caused these changes, although several pivots in Wyoming near Lagrange were shut down preceding this. This does not seem to account for enough water to be the answer. Groundwater is known to follow layers of Brule clay that underlie much of this area, so perhaps it has come from quite a distance. It is encouraging for many people along the creek in Banner and Morrill counties, but frustrating for farmers with developed fields that have lost the use of them.


Banner County does not have a hospital, but the volunteer EMS service consists of 12 EMTs and two paramedics. They receive assistance from the Valley Ambulance Services, Kimball County Ambulance Services, Morrill County Ambulance Services, and Air Link’s medical flight services.

Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff is the largest local hospital. There are hospitals and/or clinics in Kimball, Bayard, Bridgeport, and Sidney. Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, also has a clinic.

Internet Services

Internet service is available throughout the county but is weak or unreliable in several areas. Service providers include Vista Beam, Viero, Verizon, Hughes Net, and Century Link. Starlink satellite Internet service is also available.

FirstNet is a high-speed wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety and is available to first responders.