Lincoln was founded in 1856 as the village of Lancaster, and became the county seat of the newly created Lancaster County in 1859. The capital of Nebraska Territory had been Omaha since the creation of the territory in 1854; however, most of the territory's population lived south of the Platte River. After much of the territory south of the Platte considered annexation to Kansas, the legislature voted to move the capital south of the river and as far west as possible. The village of Lancaster was chosen, in part due to the salt flats and marshes.
Omaha interests attempted to derail the move by having Lancaster renamed after the recently assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. Many of the people south of the river had been sympathetic to the Confederate cause in the recently concluded Civil War, and it was assumed that the legislature would not pass the measure if the future capital were named after Abraham Lincoln. The choice to name the capital city "Lincoln" caused quite a stir among the constituents, whose sentiments were mixed regarding who should have won the Civil War.
Lincoln topped the CDC list of healthiest U.S. cities in 2008, and in 2013, was #1 on the Gallup-Healthways list of "Happiest & Healthiest" cities.
Lincoln is one of the few large cities of Nebraska not located along either the Platte River or the Missouri River. The city was originally laid out near Salt Creek and among the nearly flat salinewetlands of northern Lancaster County. The city's growth over the years has led to development of the surrounding land, much of which is composed of gently rolling hills. In recent years, Lincoln's northward growth has encroached on the habitat of the endangered Salt Creek tiger beetle.
The Lincoln metropolitan area consists of Lancaster County and Seward County, which was added to the metropolitan area in 2003. Lincoln has very little development outside its city limits and has no contiguous suburbs (the largest town that can be considered a suburb of Lincoln is Waverly). This is due primarily to the fact that most land that would otherwise be developed as a suburban town has already been annexed by the city of Lincoln itself.
40th & A: An area from Randolph to South Streets/Normal Boulevard and from S. 33rd to S. 48th Streets.
Arnold Heights: Located in far northwest Lincoln, this neighborhood, also known as Airpark, began as base housing for the adjacent Lincoln Air Force Base during the Cold War. The area originally consisted of 1,000 housing units and was annexed by Lincoln in 1966, after the base closed. All 1,000 units were originally managed by the Lincoln Housing Authority, but about half of the homes in the neighborhood have been sold to private owners. The area was also formerly known as both "Capehart Housing" when completed in 1960 (north housing) and the "Military Construction Area" when built during 1956 (south housing). Additional housing subdivisions were built in the area in the 1980s and 1990s. More recent additions include a mix of duplexes and single-family homes of various sizes, an IGA grocery store, and a strip mall. As of May 2009, the area is continually being developed.
Antelope Park: An area from "A" to South Streets and from S. 27th Street to generally west of Antelope Park.
Belmont: The Belmont neighborhood lies just north of Cornhusker Highway and south of Superior Street between Interstate 180 and 14th Street.
Bethany: Bethany is located along Cotner Boulevard and Holdrege Street. Originally laid out as a separate village by the Disciples of Christ, it was annexed by Lincoln in the late 1920s.
Capitol Beach: This area is north of West O Street, just west of Downtown, and north of BNSF Railway's Hobson Yard. It is home to Capitol Beach Lake and Lakeview Elementary School.
Clinton: Located north of 27th and O Streets, Clinton is the target of ongoing revitalization efforts by the City.
College View: College View is located along 48th Street and near Calvert Street, adjacent to and surrounding the Union College campus. Originally College View was a separate village. The area is anchored by Union College but has many buildings resembling those of a small town. This business area serves the college and surrounding neighborhood. It has an eclectic mix of mostly local businesses.
Colonial Hills: An area from Pioneers Boulevard to Old Cheney Road/Nebraska Highway and from S. 56th to S. 70th Streets. Colonial Hills also includes the area at and west of the College View Cemetery from S. 56th to S. 70th Streets.
Cripple Creek (Cripple Creek North): North of Pine Lake Road, this neighborhood is a fairly new one, comprising several middle- to upper-class homes.
View of Downtown Lincoln from the top of the Nebraska State Capitol
Country Club: An area from South Street to Nebraska Highway; generally east of S. 20th/S. 22nd Streets and west of the Rock Island Bicycle Trail.
Downtown: Lincoln's business district has a mix of offices, bars, restaurants and retail.
East Campus: Located just south of the University of Nebraska East Campus, from Holdrege to Vine and from 33rd to 48th Street, this neighborhood includes a historic district, commonly referred to as "Professor Row", and McAdams Park, which borders the Mo-Pac bike trail.
Eastridge: Developed during the city's eastward expansion and development of the Gateway Mall as the nucleus of Lincoln's retail as the department stores were closing downtown and opening there. It contains mostly single-level, ranch-style homes with build on garages.
Everett: Bound by H Street on the north, South on the South, 9th on the West, and 13th on the East.
Fallbrook: New, developing community, located east of the airport and north of I-80; includes office parks, housing, and a town center.
Far South: Bounded by the Rock Island Bicycle Trail on the north, Mocking Bird Lane N. on the south, Densmore Park-east to S. 27th Street.
Fox Hollow: Located in southeast Lincoln, from 70th to 84th Streets between Van Dorn Street and Pioneers Boulevard. Middle- to upper-class neighborhoods near Holmes Lake. Fox Hollow is a planned subdivision and was constructed during the 1970s to present.
Hartley: One of Lincoln's earliest suburbs, Hartley is located east of the downtown proper, east of 27th Street and north of O Street. It is a mainly residential neighborhood of houses built 1890–1940.
Havelock: Havelock is located along Havelock Avenue, east of 56th Street in northeast Lincoln; originally a separate town. It has many shops and restaurants and its own farmers market on Tuesday afternoons.
Hawley: Located directly east of UNL's downtown campus, the Hawley Historic District was largely built in the early 20th century.
H. P. Lau Building in Haymarket District
Haymarket: One of Lincoln's oldest neighborhoods, the Haymarket is a historic warehouse and industrial district. In recent decades, it has become a dining, specialty shopping, and urban living district.
Highlands: The Highlands is a newer residential neighborhood in northwest Lincoln, located north of I-80 and near Lincoln Airport.
Historic Bungalow District: The Historic Bungalow District is also known as the Woods Park neighborhood. It is bounded by 33rd Street to the east, 27th street to the west, A Street to the south, and O Street to the north. It includes a number of bungalows built around the 1910s and 1920s. The Lincoln Children's Zoo (formerly Folsom Children's Zoo) & Botanical Gardens is located in this neighborhood.
View of South Lincoln from the top of the Nebraska State Capitol
Huskerville: A now non-existent neighborhood built north of Arnold Heights. Constructed during World War II, Huskerville was once the Lincoln Army Air Field hospital area from 1942 until 1945. After the war the area was converted into college housing and was most noted for a polio outbreak in 1952. The area was either removed or demolished in the late 1960s. The chapel, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is all that remains of Huskerville.
Indian Village: The Indian Village neighborhood is located from Van Dorn Street on the north to Highway 2 on the south, from 9th Street on the west to 20th Street on the east.
Irvingdale: The Irvingdale neighborhood is located from South Street on the North, and Van Dorn on the South, from 9th Street from the west to 22nd Street on the east. The neighborhood has a mix of homes built in the early 1900s to more modern homes built in the 1950s, and is home to Irving Middle School, and the Stransky Park concert series.
Malone: An area bounded by the old Missouri Pacific Railroad line on the north, "O" Street on the south and from N. 19th to N. 27th Streets.
Meadowlane: 66th to 84th from O Street to Vine Street and 70th to 84th from Vine Street to Holdrege Street.
Near South: Located from G Street on the north to South Street on the south, and from 13th Street from the west to 27th on the east. The neighborhood is home to many of Lincoln's grand historic homes and is currently experiencing a revitalization effort by the neighborhood association and city officials. Many homeowners are reconverting properties that were once divided into apartments back into single-family homes. The area is spotted with various homes of significant historical and architectural value.
North Bottoms/Russian Bottoms: Directly north of UNL's downtown campus, the North Bottoms is an area in the floodplain of Salt Creek that holds many smaller houses now rented by a large number of UNL students. It was originally the northern part of the "German" or "Russian" bottoms settled by Volga-German immigrants from Russia.
Piedmont: An area to the west of Eastridge. Bounded by S 48th to the west, S 56th to the east, A St to the south and Randolph St to the north. Includes a shopping center, drug store, automotive center, hair salon, middle school, church, park, and homes of various sizes.
Porter Ridge: An area bounded by Pine Lake Road on the north, at about Whitlock Road-west on the south and from S. 27th to S. 32nd Streets.
Riley: An area from Holdrege to "O" Streets and from N. 48th to N. 66th Streets.
Sheridan: This neighborhood is located along and around Sheridan Boulevard in south-central Lincoln. It was the first addition to Lincoln that stepped away from the "grid pattern" into the winding side streets that characterize most modern residential areas. It is listed under the National Registrar of Historic Places as the "Boulevards" district.
Salt Valley View: An area from just north of Starview Lane to Old Cheney Road and from the BNSF Railway to N. 14th Street/Warlick Boulevard.
South Bottoms/Russian Bottoms: South of the Haymarket district, the South Bottoms, like the North Bottoms, was a neighborhood founded by Germans from Russia.
Stone Bridge Creek: This neighborhood is located north of I-80 just east of N 14th Street.
Taylor Park: An area generally located around Taylor Park in east-central Lincoln.
University Place: University Place is located along 48th Street between Leighton Avenue and Adams Street, near Nebraska Wesleyan University and UNL's East Campus. It was an incorporated community before its annexation by Lincoln in 1926. The area has its own historic shopping district and is characterized by homes with wrap around porches near the University's Old Main.
West "A": The West "A" neighborhood is from West "O" to W. Van Dorn Streets and from Salt Creek on the east to SW 27th Street on the west. West "A" also includes the area from W. "A" to W. South Streets and from SW 40th to SW 27th Streets.
West Lincoln: Located along West Cornhusker Highway., the area was founded in 1887 and was an incorporated community before its annexation by Lincoln in 1966.
Witherbee: An area from "O" to Randolph Street and from S. 33rd to S. 56th Streets.
Woods Park: An area bounded by "O" Street on the north, S. 33rd Street on the east; generally north and east of Antelope Creek.
Located on the Great Plains far from the moderating influence of mountains or large bodies of water, Lincoln possesses a highly variable four-season humid continental climate (KöppenDfa): winters are cold but relatively dry, summers are hot and occasionally humid. With little precipitation falling during winter, precipitation is concentrated in the warmer months, when thunderstorms frequently roll in, often producing tornadoes. Snow tends to fall in light amounts, though blizzards are possible. Snow cover is not very reliable due to both the low precipitation and the frequent thaws during winter.
The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 24.6 °F (−4.1 °C) in January to 77.6 °F (25.3 °C) in July. However, the city is subject both to episodes of bitter cold in winter and heat waves during summer, with 11.4 nights of sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows, 41 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs, and 4.6 days of 100 °F (38 °C)+ highs. The city straddles the boundary of USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5b and 6a, indicating an annual minimum temperature of around −10 °F (−23 °C). Temperature extremes have ranged from −33 °F (−36 °C) on January 12, 1974 up to 115 °F (46 °C) on July 25, 1936.
Lincoln has a mayor-council government. The mayor and a seven-member city council are selected in nonpartisan elections. Four members are elected from city council districts; the remaining three members are elected at-large. Lincoln's health, personnel, and planning departments are joint city/county agencies; most city and Lancaster County offices are located in the County/City Building.
Since Lincoln is the state capital, many Nebraska state agencies and offices are located in Lincoln, as are several United States Government agencies and offices. The Nebraska Air and Army National Guard's Joint Force Headquarters are located in Lincoln. The city lies within the Lincoln Public Schools school district; the primary law enforcement agency for the city is the Lincoln Police Department. The Lincoln Fire and Rescue Department shoulders the city's fire fighting and ambulatory services while outlying areas of the city are supported by volunteer fire fighting units.
The city's public library system is Lincoln City Libraries, which has eight branches. Lincoln City Libraries circulates more than three million items per year to the residents of Lincoln and Lancaster County. Lincoln City Libraries is also home to Polley Music Library and the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska authors.
Amigos Restaurant on N 48th & Leighton in Lincoln, NE
Lincoln's economy is fairly typical of a mid-sized American city; most economic activity is derived from service industries. The state government and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are both large contributors to the local economy. Other prominent industries in Lincoln include medical, banking, information technology, education, call centers, insurance, and rail and truck transport. As of October 2013, the Lincoln MSA's preliminary unemployment rate was 3.1% (not seasonally adjusted).
One of the largest employers is the Bryan Health System, which consists of two major hospitals and several large outpatient facilities located across the city. Healthcare and medical jobs account for a substantial portion of Lincoln's employment: as of 2009, full-time healthcare employees in the city included 9,010 healthcare practitioners in technical occupations, 4,610 workers in healthcare support positions, 780 licensed and vocational nurses, and 150 medical and clinical laboratory technicians.
A public bus transit system, StarTran, operates in Lincoln. StarTran's fleet consists of 60 full-sized buses and 9 Handi-Vans. Lincoln is also served by Black Hills Stage Lines for regional bus service between Omaha and Denver.
The U.S. Government designated Lincoln as a refugee-friendly city due to its stable economy, educational institutions, and size. Since then, refugees from Vietnam settled in Lincoln, and further waves came from other countries.
There were 103,546 households of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.0% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.8% were non-families. 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.01.
The median age in the city was 31.8 years. 22.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 15.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.9% were from 25 to 44; 22.9% were from 45 to 64; and 10.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.0% male and 50.0% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 225,581 people, 90,485 households, and 53,567 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,022.2 inhabitants per square mile (1,166.9/km²). There were 95,199 housing units at an average density of 1,275.4 per square mile (492.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.25% White, 3.12% Asian, 3.09% African American, 0.68% Native American, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.81% from other races, and 1.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.61% of the population.
There were 90,485 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.3% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.8% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.99.
The median age in Lincoln was 31 years. 23.0% of the residents were below the age of 18; 16.4% were aged from 18 to 24; 30.7% from 25 to 44; 19.5% from 45 to 64; and 10.4% were 65 years of age or older. For every 100 females there were 99.2 males; for every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.0 males.
As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $40,605, and the median income for a family was $52,558. Men had a median income of $33,899 versus $25,402 for women. The per capita income for the city was $20,984. About 5.8% of families and 10.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.7% of those under age 18 and 6.0% of those age 65 or over.
Nebraska State Capitol: designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue and constructed between 1922 and 1932. The capitol building is a skyscraper topped by a golden dome. The tower is crowned by a 6-meter (20 ft) statue of a farmer sowing grain on a pedestal of wheat and corn (sculptor: Lee Lawrie), to represent the state's agricultural heritage. City zoning rules prevent any other building from rivaling it in height, making it a landmark not only within the city but for the surrounding area. Inside, there are many paintings and iridescent murals depicting the Native American heritage and the history and culture of the early pioneers who settled Nebraska. It is the second tallest U.S. State Capitol building behind the Louisiana State Capitol building in Baton Rouge.
There are several private parochial elementary and middle schools located throughout the community. These schools, like Lincoln Public Schools, are broken into districts, but most will allow attendance outside of boundary lines.
Lincoln's primary venues for live music include: Pinnacle Bank Arena, Pershing Auditorium (both for large tours and national acts), Bourbon Theatre, Duffy's Tavern, Red9 (opened in 2009, previously P.O. Pears), Knickerbockers, Duggan's Pub (local and regional acts; smaller venues), and the Zoo Bar (blues). The Pla-Mor Ballroom is a staple of Lincoln's music and dance scene, featuring its house band, the award-winning Sandy Creek Band.
The Lied Center is a venue for national tours of Broadway productions, concert music, and guest lectures. Lincoln has several performing arts venues. Plays are staged by UNL students in the Temple Building; community theater productions are held at the Lincoln Community Playhouse, the Loft at The Mill, and the Haymarket Theater.
Downtown Lincoln at night (14th and O Streets)
For movie viewing, Marcus Theatres owns 32 screens at four locations, and the University of Nebraska's Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center shows independent and foreign films. Standalone cinemas in Lincoln include the Joyo Theater and Rococo Theater. The Rococo Theater also hosts benefits and other engagements. The downtown section of O Street is Lincoln's primary bar and nightclub district.
Lincoln is one of the few cities without its own NBC affiliate; Omaha's WOWT serves as the city's default NBC affiliate on cable, while Hastings' KHAS-TV is available in satellite locals packages. Most of Omaha's other television stations can also be picked up in Lincoln with an antenna, and all are available on cable.
Lincoln also has analog TV translators for 3ABN on channel 27 and TBN on channel 29.
The Lincoln Journal Star is the city's major daily newspaper. The Daily Nebraskan is the official campus paper of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The DailyER Nebraskan is the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's biweekly satirical paper. The Clocktower is the official campus paper of Union College.
VOTA, contemporary Christian rock band signed to INO records
Milton I. Wick, organized a book business in Lincoln that employed college students to sell books to farmers in the summer. The enterprise was so successful that it was expanded to Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas, employing more than 500 students during the three years of its existence. Wick later founded Wick Communications Company.
Don Wilson, announcer and occasional actor in radio and television