Crawford is a city in Dawes County, in the northwestern part of the state of Nebraska, in the Great Plains region of the United States. The population was 997 at the 2010 census. It was incorporated in 1886 and was named for the late Captain Emmet Crawford, who had been stationed at nearby Fort Robinson.
The Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad reached Fort Robinson in 1886 on its way to Wyoming. Several miles east of the Fort, the railroad passed through a tree claim belonging to William Annin (also spelled "Annon"), who sold his claim for a new townsite. The "tent city" that sprang up around the railroad was named after Lt. Emmet Crawford, who had been formerly stationed at Fort Robinson but was killed in Mexico in January 1886.
The town's original plat was filed on June 21, 1886 by the Western Townsite Company. E.A. Thompson and William D. Edger (editor of the original Crawford Clipper) circulated a petition for Crawford to become a village, but upon getting only 69 of the 200 needed signatures, secured the remaining signatures from willing soldiers at Fort Robinson. Crawford was incorporated in August 1886.
Seeking entertainment, the soldiers kept the town supplied with much business during its early years. Crawford was a very wild frontier town, and was home to many saloons and brothels. Calamity Jane came to Crawford from Deadwood, South Dakota with ten dancing girls and set up a tent south of town.