Located in the high plains on the western edge of the Nebraska Sandhills, Alliance was originally called Grand Lake due to the large alkalai lake that once covered the area. Many alkalai lakes may still be found in the area of Alliance. The railroad came through in 1888 and the name was changed to Alliance. There are several versions of why the name was changed. One version relates that it was due to the area being a junction point for two railroads. The railroads still play a major part in Alliance's economy as a large yard for coaltrains is in Alliance. Alliance boasts a population of over 9,000 people and it is the county seat for Box Butte County.