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History of Lincoln

Once considered part of the “Great American Desert,” Lincoln today is a flourishing oasis for business and culture. The city was founded as the village of Lancaster in 1859 by a group of prospectors hoping to build a salt industry from the salt basin of what is now called Salt Creek.

Not long thereafter, the group turned from salt mining to agriculture, which would become the mainstay of the state's economy. When Nebraska gained statehood in 1867, most of Nebraska's population lived south of the Platte River. For the “South Platters,” who had to cross the Platte to do business in the capital city of Omaha, the journey was an arduous one.

So it was no surprise when the South Platters voted to move the capital seat as far west as possible. On the same day Nebraska became a state—March 1, 1867—Lancaster replaced Omaha as the state capital and was renamed “Lincoln” to honor our 16th president who had been assassinated just two years earlier. This caused quite a stir among constituents, whose sentiments were mixed regarding who should have won the Civil War.

Lincoln continues to be the seat for Nebraska's state government today. The skyline is dominated by the State Capitol, designed by famed architect Bertram Goodhue and constructed from the same Indiana Limestone used to build the Chrysler Building in New York City. The Capitol took 10 years to build and was later declared the Fourth Architectural Wonder of the World by American Institute of Architects. To this day, the Capitol is home to the Nebraska Unicameral, the only one-house, nonpartisan governing body in the United States.

Lincoln Trivia

• Charles Lindbergh learned to fly in Lincoln. He took lessons at Lincoln Airplane and Flying School where Lincoln Memorial Park is today.
• Nebraska's Capitol is one of only four “skyscraper” capitols in the United States. It was built on a pay-as-you-go basis for $9.8 million over a 10-year period.
• Dick Cavett graduated from Lincoln High School.
• Johnny Carson attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
• At the intersection of 13th & O Streets is a large brick star. Legend has it this is the exact spot where the American West begins.
• The State Capitol and University of Nebraska State Museum are nationally recognized as one of the best attended Nebraska attractions
• The Lincoln Municipal Airport is among the emergency landing sites for the NASA Space Shuttle, and the top location located within the non-coastal United States.




Document Information
Source: Lincoln CVB, magazineUSA.com
Last modified: 20081008
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