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Nebraska (NE): State Information, Fun Facts, and Resources

When did Nebraska become a state?
March 1, 1867

Who were the first Europeans in Nebraska?
Étienne Veniard de Bourgmont

First Native American settlers:
Arapaho, Cheyenne, Kansa, Lakota, Dakota, Missouria, Omaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Ponca

Square Miles:

US Rank:

State Flower:

State Bird:
Western Meadowlark

State Motto:
“Equality before the law”

Capital City

Lincoln Nebraska (first named Lancaster) was founded in 1856 and soon after became the county seat for Lancaster County. When Nebraska became a state in 1867, Lincoln and Omaha both wanted to be the state capital. Much to Omaha’s dismay, Lincoln won the bid and became the state seat of government.

Today, Omaha is the largest city in Nebraska, but Lincoln is runner¬–up, with a population of 225,581 (2000 census). The economy of Nebraska is centered around the state government and banking, financial and insurance industries. Public schools and public medical centers also play a large role in the state GDP.

What is Nebraska famous for?

1. Birthplace of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West
William F. Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill was born in Iowa and died in Colorado. It was his life between the two states that took place in Nebraska. He was an American solider in the Civil War who, after the war ended, took his cowboy roots to the Old West and began to put on cowboy shows for spectators. He called the show Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and it featured performers with varying talents, races, sideshows, music and re-enactments. The show is said to have been the reason that the American West as Americans know it today, was perceived the way it was.

2. Nebraska Cornhuskers Football
The University of Nebraska at Lincoln is home to the Cornhuskers football team, more commonly known as the Huskers. The team was founded in 1980. Over its 120 year history, the team has won more games than most other NCAA Division I teams.

Beginning in 2011, the Cornhuskers will be part of the Big Ten Conference. Their all-time record is 837-343-40, while they have won a staggering 43 Conference titles and five national titles. They have coached three Heisman Trophy winners in their history, and 53 All-American players. Their current record is fourth in overall wins among all NCAA Division I-A teams.

3. Nebraska Steak (in particular, Omaha Steaks)
As Nebraska is one of the country’s foremost agricultural crop and livestock farming regions, it is natural that the state would lay claim to some of the finest steaks produced in the US. Perhaps the foremost steak company is Omaha Steaks, founded almost 100 years ago in 1917 by J.J. Simon and B.A. Simon. It was originally called the Table Supply Meat Company, but the name was changed to Omaha Steaks in 1966. Today, the company has expanded their offerings, with a mail order business form which consumers can purchase steaks and have them shipped worldwide. The company also sells other gourmet food items through their mail order service. In addition to satisfying palettes of consumers throughout the country and perhaps the world, Omaha Steaks distributes steaks to the foodservice industry.

What is Nebraska’s economy?

1. Agriculture
The agricultural industry in Nebraska is in the top five in terms of income generated nationwide. The primary contributors to this income are cattle and calves, as well as corn, soybeans and wheat. Other livestock raised in the state includes sheep, lambs, young chickens and turkeys. The state’s other main crops include beans, beets, potatoes and a variety of grains.

2. Manufacturing
The manufacturing industry in Nebraska is centered on the processing of food products. The state produces a large amount of revenue from the growth of agricultural products, and consequently is has a large processing industry to further add value to the products grown locally. The main food producers focus on meat products, cereal, food for livestock, dairy products and sodas. The state is also a large manufacturer equipment for farmers.

3. Services
The services industry in Nebraska is largely owed to private health care companies, which produce the lion’s share of the revenue generated by the services industries in Nebraska. Other leaders include private companies, engineering companies, hotels and law firms. Wholesale trade, the insurance industry and government companies such as public schools, hospital and transportation departments are important as well.

Nebraska Historical Landmarks

1. William Jennings Bryan House
The home of former US Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan was built in 1902 in the Queen Anne style. Bryan was a longtime politician and lawyer. He attended Illinois College and later he graduated form Union Law College in Chicago (Northwestern University). William Jennings Bryan served as a member of the US House of Representatives from 1891 to 1895. Before he became Secretary of State, Bryan ran for President of the US in 1986, 1900 and again in 1908. In 1913, he was appointed to the secretary position by Woodrow Wilson. He held the office until 1915, but was forced into resignation in 1915 after the Germans sank the Lusitania.

2. Boys Town
Father Edward J. Flanagan founded the boys home that was originally named after himself, as an orphanage in 1917. Unlike other orphanages, Flanagan’s emphasized the importance of preparing boys for successful lives as honorable members of society. The building that housed the original orphanage is on the National Register of Historic Places and was named a National Historic Landmark in 1985. More importantly than labels, however, is the fact that Father Flanagan’s vision was the catalyst for the Boys Town Organization, which today operates in 11 states around the county with 13 locations for children and families.

3. Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte Memorial Hospital
The hospital was founded in 1912 by Dr. Susan LaFlesche, the first Native American doctor who was a female. She worked hard to raise money for the Indian reservation hospital. The hospital represented all that she worked for, and although, Dr. LaFlesche unfortunately died two short years after its completion, it functioned as a working facility for 28 years.
The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 16, 1988, and it was designated as a National Historic Landmark on April 19, 1993.