Omaha, Nebraska

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Template:Otheruses3 Template:Infobox City Omaha is the largest city in the U.S. state of Nebraska. It is the county seat of Douglas County.Template:GR As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 390,007. According to the 2004 census estimate, Omaha's population had risen to 409,416. Located on the eastern edge of Nebraska, it is on the Missouri River, about 20 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River. Omaha is the center city of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area. Council Bluffs, Iowa lies directly across the Missouri River from Omaha. Together, the two had formed the core of the 60th-largest metropolitan area in the United States in 2000, with a population of 813,170 (2005 estimate) residing in eight counties or about 1.2 million within a 50 mile radius.



Prior to the establishment of the city, the area had been inhabited by numerous Indian tribes, who had adapted to a semi-nomadic lifestyle necessary for survival on the Great Plains. The Pawnee, Otoe and Sioux had inhabited the region for hundreds of years by the time the Omaha tribe had arrived from the south in the early 1700's. Translated, the word "Omaha" means against the current, and the Omaha tribe would have had to go against the southward current of the Missouri River as they migrated north. The Omaha Indians were closely related to the Pawnee, sharing many of the same traditions and cultural similarities. On July 21, 1804, members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed by the riverbanks that later became the city The expedition stopped about 20 miles north, at which point they first met with the Otoe, and had a council meeting with members of the tribal leadership on the west side of the Missouri River. A decade later, adventurers and fur traders were frequenting the region, trading at Fort Atkinson, which was built in 1819 as a military outpost adjacent to the location of the earlier council meeting. The Mormons lived temporarily in the region from 1846 to 1848 before resuming their westward migration.

Omaha was founded in the summer of 1854 by land speculators from Council Bluffs, months after the Kansas-Nebraska Act created the Nebraska Territory. Later that year, Omaha was chosen as the territorial capital for Nebraska. Omaha was chosen as the eastern terminus of America's first transcontinental railroad in 1862 with the passage of the Pacific Railroad Act. This ensured that Omaha would become a major transportation center for the entire country in the years to come. The loss of the capital to Lincoln in 1867 did not slow Omaha's growth in the decades to come.

Omaha's growth was accelerated in the 1880s by the rapid development of the meatpacking industry in South Omaha; in the 1880s, Omaha was the fastest-growing city in the United States. Thousands of immigrants from central and southern Europe came to Omaha to work in the stockyards and slaughterhouses, creating Omaha's original ethnic neighborhoods in South Omaha.

The Trans-Mississippi Exposition was held in Omaha from June 1 to November 1, 1898. The exposition drew over 2 million visitors and involved construction of attractions spanning over 100 city blocks including a shipworthy lagoon, bridges and magnificent, though temporary, buildings constructed of plaster and horsehair.

A devastating tornado ripped through Omaha in 1913 and has become known as the Easter Sunday tornado.

A low point in Omaha's history was the Omaha Race Riot of 1919, which occurred in September 1919 after a black man was arrested and accused of raping a white woman. A mob formed and removed him from the Douglas County Jail on the top floor of the County Courthouse. The man was hanged from the lamppost on the south side of the Courthouse and his body was burned and dragged through the streets. The mayor attempted to intervene and was nearly hanged himself. The Courthouse was set on fire and seriously damaged. This incident was dramatized by playwright Max Sparber and produced by the Blue Barn Theatre in 1998 at the Douglas County Courthouse, the site of the riot.

The Enola Gay and Bock's Car were two of 536 B-29s manufactured at the Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Factory in Omaha, Neb. near the end of World War II.

The Omaha Stockyards was the world's largest livestock processing center during the 1960's having taken over that distinction from Chicago's Union Stockyards in the late 1950s. As improved truck and boxcar refrigeration capabilities encouraged the slaughtering process to move closer to feedlots, all centralized stockyard activity declined and the Omaha Stockyards were closed in 1999.

Image:Omaha skyline humid day.png The Omaha Tornado of 1975 is another grim day in Omaha's past. An F4 tornado ripped through neighborhoods along South 72nd Street on May 6, 1975, killing 3 and injuring 133. In terms of damage, it was the most costly tornado in American history to that date, with damage estimates between $250 million and $500 million. In January 1975, the city was paralyzed by a devastating blizzard which dumped several feet of snow on the city.

Omaha demolished a downtown district of brick warehouses called "Jobbers Canyon" in 1988, which was once listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The delisting and demolition of Jobbers Canyon to make way for the campus headquarters of ConAgra constituted the greatest loss of protected buildings in the history of the National Register Program.

On August 20, 2001, Nebraska Methodist Health Systems demolished the Indian Hills Theater, a "super-Cinerama" movie theater containing the largest indoor screen of its type in the world.

U.S. President Gerald Ford (born Leslie Lynch King) was born in Omaha; however, he only spent his early childhood there. After his parents divorced, his mother remarried a man from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and, consequently, Gerald grew up there. Omaha was also the birthplace of Malcolm X, but his family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, when he was one year old.


Omaha is located at 41°15'38" North, 96°0'47" West (41.260482, -96.012990)Template:GR. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 307.9 km² (118.9 mi²). 299.7 km² (115.7 mi²) of it is land and 8.2 km² (3.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.67% water.

Metropolitan area

Template:Further Image:Omaha c bluffs.jpg The Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area consists of eight counties; five in Nebraska and three in Iowa. In descending order of population, they are:

The Omaha-Council Bluffs-Fremont Combined Statistical Area is comprised of the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Fremont Micropolitan Statistical Area; the CSA has a population of 849,248 (2005 Census Bureau estimate).

Neighborhoods and suburbs

  • Bellevue, the oldest settlement in Nebraska and the state's third largest city, is just south of Omaha in eastern Sarpy County.
  • Benson is a neighborhood of north-central Omaha near 60th and Maple Streets; it was annexed in 1917.
  • Boys Town is an incorporated village near 132nd and Dodge Streets and is home to the famous institution of the same name.
  • Chalco is an unincorporated residential area southwest of Omaha in northern Sarpy County.
  • Dundee is an increasingly trendy neighborhood in central Omaha near 50th and Dodge Streets. Originally a separate city, Dundee was annexed by Omaha in 1915, but this annexation was fought until 1917.
  • Elkhorn is a fast-growing, residential suburb west of Omaha in Douglas County. On March 8, 2005, Omaha annexed Elkhorn; this annexation was upheld by a district court order on August 19.<ref>[1]</ref> This annexation is not yet final, as Elkhorn has appealed the district court ruling.
  • Florence is a historic neighborhood in north Omaha. The original Mormon settlement in Florence (1846) predates the city of Omaha; it was annexed in 1917.
  • La Vista is a residential suburb south of Omaha in north-central Sarpy County.
  • Millard is a broad area of southwest Omaha; originally a separate city, Omaha annexed it in 1971. The original town site is near 132nd and Q Streets. The Millard school district is separate from that of Omaha.
  • North Omaha just north of downtown Omaha, is the urban center and one of Omaha's most progressive communities. Though predominantly an African-American neighborhood, North Omaha boasts a rich and diverse culture.
  • Papillion is a suburb south of Omaha and immediately south of La Vista. It is the county seat of Sarpy County.
  • Ralston is a residential suburb in south-central Douglas County roughly bounded by 72nd, 84th, L, and Harrison Streets. It is surrounded by Omaha on three sides.
  • South Omaha is a working-class neighborhood south of downtown Omaha, originally settled by immigrants from central, eastern, and southern Europe. Once a separate city, it was annexed in 1915. Today its population is predominantly Hispanic.


Though located at approximately the same latitude as Rome Italy, Omaha, by virtue of lying near the center of the North American continent, far from either large bodies of water or mountain ranges, has a typically continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters. Average July maximum and minimum temperatures are 31°C (88°F) and 18°C (66°F) respectively, with moderate humidity and relatively frequent thunderstorms; the January counterparts are -1°C (31°F) and -11°C (12°F). The absolute maximum temperature recorded in the city is 43°C (111°F), the minimum -30°C (-23°F). Average yearly precipitation is 76 cm (30 in), falling mostly in the warmer months. What precipitation does fall in winter usually takes the form of snow, with average yearly snowfall being around 75 cm (30 in).


Population by decade
1860 1,883
1870 16,083
1880 30,518
1890 140,452
1900 102,555
1910 124,096
1920 191,061
1930 214,006
1940 223,844
1950 251,117
1960 301,598
1970 346,929
1980 313,939
1990 335,795
2000 390,007
2004 409,416 (est.)

As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 390,007 people, 156,738 households, and 94,983 families residing within city limits. The population density is 1,301.5/km² (3,370.7/mi²). There are 165,731 housing units at an average density of 553.1/km² (1,432.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 78.39% White, 13.31% African American, 0.67% Native American, 1.74% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 3.91% from other races, and 1.92% from two or more races. 7.54% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 156,738 households out of which 30.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.8% are married couples living together, 13.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 39.4% are non-families. 31.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.4% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.42 and the average family size is 3.10.

In the city the average age of the population is diverse with 25.6% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 95.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 92.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $40,006, and the median income for a family is $50,821. Males have a median income of $34,301 versus $26,652 for females. The per capita income for the city is $21,756. 11.3% of the population and 7.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 15.6% of those under the age of 18 and 7.4% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

As of the 2003 Current Population Survey, there are 373,815 people, 154,879 households, and 92,903 families residing within the city limits. The 2004-2005 Statistical Abstract of the United States lists the total estimated population for the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area as 793,000.<ref>[2]</ref>


Although Nebraska's economy is still primarily based on agriculture, Omaha's economy today has diversified to become a national leader in several industries, including banking, insurance, telecommunications, and transportation. Omaha's economy has grown dramatically since the early 1990s.

Omaha is the home of the headquarters of a number of major corporations, including:

The Omaha metropolitan area is home to Offutt Air Force Base (Offutt AFB) which is located just south of Omaha in the city of Bellevue. During the Cold War, Strategic Air Command (SAC) headquarters was located at Offutt. The successor to SAC, the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) is now also headquartered at Offutt. The base is controlled by the 55th Wing and hosts several tenant units including Air Force Weather Agency, and the United States Air Force Heartland of America Band.

On May 2, 2005, the Omaha World-Herald reported that the economic impact of the base upon the local community amounted to approximately $2 billion annually.


Primary and secondary education

Colleges and universities


Template:Further Image:Joslyn Fountain Court.jpg Omaha is home to the Omaha Community Playhouse, one of the most famous and best-endowed community theaters in the United States, and to Girls and Boys Town; its Henry Doorly Zoo is widely considered one of the premier zoos in the world. The Blue Barn Theatre, a nationally famous semi-professional company that specializes in the works of contemporary playwrights, was founded in 1989 by a group of recent graduates from Purchase College. Ak-Sar-Ben (now demolished) and the Holland Performing Arts Center are venues located within Omaha.

The Durham Western Heritage Museum is located on 10th Street in the art deco Union Station. The museum has numerous permanent exhibits and is accredited with the Smithsonian Institution for traveling exhibits from the Smithsonian.

A portion of Omaha's renovated downtown area is known as the Old Market. It is home to a number of shops, restaurants, bars, and art galleries. The area also has uneven brick roads, horse drawn carriages, and street performers.

Major music groups either located in or originally from Omaha include the Omaha Symphony, Opera Omaha, Mannheim Steamroller, Bright Eyes, and 311. The late indie-folk singer/songwriter Elliott Smith was also born in Omaha. The Joslyn Art Museum has significant art collections, particularly of Native American art and art works relating to the early European exploration of western North America.

Between the zoo and the Old Market lies the Omaha Botanical Gardens (also known as Lauritzen Gardens). This 100-acre (40 hectares) botanical garden features 13 outdoor areas, including a rose garden, herb garden, children’s garden and an arboretum. It also includes an indoor floral display hall, educational programs for children and adults, annual festivals, a café, and a gift shop.

Downtown redevelopment

The downtown area has experienced a resurgence in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with several billion dollars of new construction. The new developments include the Qwest Center Omaha arena/convention center complex, the Holland Performing Arts Center, the Gallup University campus, National Park Service Midwest Region headquarters, new high-rise headquarters towers for First National Bank Omaha and Union Pacific and hundreds of condominium units.


Template:Further The Omaha metropolitan area is served by the Omaha World-Herald, the city's major newspaper, as well as suburban newspapers and independent newspapers and magazines including The Omaha Star, The Reader, and Omaha Magazine.


Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium is home to the Omaha Royals minor-league baseball team (the AAA affiliate of the Kansas City Royals). Since 1950, it has hosted the annual NCAA College World Series men's baseball tournament in mid-June. The Omaha Beef indoor football team plays at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.

The Creighton Bluejays compete in a number of NCAA Division I sports.

Ice hockey is a popular spectator sport in Omaha. The three Omaha-area teams are: the Omaha Lancers, a USHL team that plays at the Mid-America Center; the University of Nebraska at Omaha Mavericks, an NCAA Division I team play at the brand-new, state-of-the-art Qwest Center Omaha; and the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames. The Knights play their home games at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.


Health and medicine

A number of hospitals are located in Omaha, including the University of Nebraska Medical Center/Clarkson Hospital, Bergan Mercy Medical Center, Immanuel Medical Center, Lakeside Medical Center, Creighton University Medical Center, Douglas County Community Mental Health Center, Nebraska Methodist Hospital and Children's Hospital. Southwest Iowa Medical Center (Council Bluffs), Jennie Edmundson Hospital (Council Bluffs), and Midlands Hospital (Papillion), are hospitals located in the metropolitan area.


Image:I-80 (2).jpg Eppley Airfield serves much of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. Eppley is situated near Carter Lake, which is part of Iowa and is the only city in Iowa west of the Missouri River. Carter Lake was cut off from the rest of Iowa by a Missouri River flood in 1877. General aviation airports serving the area are Millard Municipal Airport, North Omaha Airport, and Council Bluffs Airport. Offutt Air Force Base is a military base.

For every 12 blocks traveled east to west on Omaha's streets, you have traveled one mile. The primary mode of transportation in Omaha is by car, with I-80, I-480, I-680, I-29, and U.S. Highway 75 (JFK Freeway and North Freeway) providing freeway service in the metropolitan area. The expressway along West Dodge Road (U.S. Highway 6 and Nebraska Link 28B) and U.S. Highway 275 is currently being upgraded to freeway standards from I-680 to Fremont; construction will be completed in 2008. Nevertheless, Metro Area Transit runs a number of bus routes within the city.

Omaha was chosen as the starting point for the Union Pacific Railroad, the eastern portion of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States. By the middle of the 20th Century, Omaha was served by the following railroads: Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific (CRIP), Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (CBQ); Chicago Great Western (CGW); Illinois Central (IC); Chicago & Northwestern (CNW); Wabash (WAB); Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul & Pacific (The Milwaukee Road) (CMStP&P); Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha; Missouri Pacific (MP); and Union Pacific.

Sister cities

Omaha's sister cities are

See also



External links


State of Nebraska Image:Nebraska state flag.png
Omaha metropolitian area - Panhandle - Pine Ridge - Rainwater Basin - Sandhills - Wildcat Hills
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Alliance - Beatrice - Bellevue - Columbus - Fremont - Gering - Grand Island - Hastings - Kearney - La Vista - Lexington - Lincoln - McCook - Norfolk - North Platte - Omaha - Papillion - Scottsbluff - South Sioux City - York

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