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Public Announcement

Courthouse closed Monday, May 29, 2017 for Memorial Day

Custer County


Custer County History (A Brief Overview of Our Heritage)

After a lengthy negotiation effort between our national government and the Cheyenne-Arapahoe tribes, three million acres of their former reservation was about to undergo a tremendous change. What a change! The Cheyenne-Arapahoe Homestead Run took place on April 19, 1892. At high noon, over 25,000 people took part in the wild scramble to claim this land. By sunset over 400 lots in the county seat of „G‟ County had been staked and the first courthouse ( a tent) was in operation. The first county officers were appointed by the Territorial Governor A.J. Seay. Since that time they have been chosen by popular ballot. The newborn town of ARAPAHO took its name from the Arapahoe Indian tribe who once occupied this area. It means "blue sky men" or "blue cloud men". „G‟ County became Custer County in 1896, following that general election. During the ensuing years, several attempts were made to remove the courthouse to another location, but these efforts failed at the ballot box. The citizens of our county did unite to improve the current courthouse during the later years of the "oil boom". The current structure was renovated to make it one of the best courthouses in the State of Oklahoma. Open house was held in June, 1985 and we have proudly displayed it to civic groups and other interested parties since that time.


County Statistic
1891 founded in
Arapaho, OK Seat
29,377 Population /2013/
1,002sq/mi total area

What is County Government?

Counties are one of America's oldest forms of government, dating back to 1634 when the first county governments were established in Virginia. Ever since, county governments continue to evolve and adapt to changing responsibilities, environments and populations. Today, America's 3,069 county governments invest nearly $500 billion each year in local services and infrastructure and employ more than 3.3 million people. Most importantly, county governments are focused on the fundamental building blocks for healthy, safe, resilient and vibrant communities:

  • Maintain public records and coordinate elections
  • Support and maintain public infrastructure, transportation and economic development assets
  • Provide vital justice, law enforcement and public safety services
  • Protect the public's health and well-being, and
  • Implement a broad array of federal, state and local programs

No two counties are exactly the same. County governments are diverse in the ways we are structured and how we deliver services to our communities. The basic roles and responsibilities of our county governments are established by the states, including our legal, financial, program and policy authorities. Under "Dillon" rules, counties can only carry out duties and services specifically authorized by the state. Meanwhile, home rule or charter counties have more flexibility and authority.

In general, county governments are governed by a policy board of elected officials (often called county board, commission or council). Nationally, more than 19,300 individuals serve as elected county board members and elected executives. In addition, most counties also have a series of row officers or constitutional officers that are elected to serve, such as sheriffs, clerks, treasurers, auditors, public defenders, district attorneys and coroners.


With permission. Original Source Oklahoma State University, County Training Program

After a lengthy negotiation effort between our national government and the Cheyenne-Arapahoe tribes, three million acres of their former reservation was about to undergo a tremendous change. What a change! The Cheyenne-Arapahoe Homestead Run took place on April 19, 1892. At high noon, over 25,000 people took part in the wild scramble to claim this land. By sunset over 400 lots in the county seat of „G‟ County had been staked and the first courthouse ( a tent) was in operation. The first county officers were appointed by the Territorial Governor A.J. Seay. Since that time they have been chosen by popular ballot. The newborn town of ARAPAHO took its name from the Arapahoe Indian tribe who once occupied this area. It means "blue sky men" or "blue cloud men". „G‟ County became Custer County in 1896, following that general election. During the ensuing years, several attempts were made to remove the courthouse to another location, but these efforts failed at the ballot box. The citizens of our county did unite to improve the current courthouse during the later years of the "oil boom". The current structure was renovated to make it one of the best courthouses in the State of Oklahoma. Open house was held in June, 1985 and we have proudly displayed it to civic groups and other interested parties since that time.