As the home for one of our locations, Lincoln, NE is a great place to reside. We think that Lincoln, NE has that small town feel, even though it’s the second largest city in Nebraska. Also, we’re lucky enough to have the capital building, the university, and a rock solid economy. Plus, we can’t forget to mention the Huskers. Lincoln is a great city to live in. For that reason, we want to focus this week’s blog on the history of Lincoln.
The Land Before Time
Before our great city was even a thought, it was totally covered by buffalo grass. There were people who inhabited the area, however. In fact, the Plains Indians was made up of many different tribes and descended from indigenous people. The Indians ancestors lived and hunted for thousands of years along Salt Creek. In addition, the Pawnee was made up of four different tribes that all occupied areas along the Platte River.
Over time, settlers continued to move farther and farther west, eventually reaching Lincoln, which was then known as Lancaster. What attracted them to the area was the large quantity of salt. Lancaster was founded in 1856, and in 1859 the villagers got together to form a county. Interestingly, in 1862 the U.S. Government passes the Homestead Act. This enabled settlers to get their land at little to no cost. Because of this, Lancaster’s population grew to nearly 500 inhabitants by 1868. On April 1, 1869, Lancaster was changed to Lincoln, no fooling! That same year, the University of Nebraska was granted 130,000 acres of land in the city.
The State Capital
When the Nebraska territory was formed in 1854, the original capital was Omaha. However, due to the amount of people living south of the Platte River, among other reasons, the legislature decided to move the capital. They wanted to pick a city that was south and as far west as they could find. In 1867, the governor and secretary of state headed out in search of the perfect capital. It wasn’t long before they settled on Lancaster, which at the time only had about 30 residents. The first capital building was completed in 1868 and was made mostly out of local limestone. However, it became apparent that a new building was needed due to the fast deterioration of the first capital building. As a matter of fact, they completed the second capital building in 1888. Similarly, the new building suffered from structural issues and was inevitably deemed unsafe.
Finally, in 1922 construction on the third capital began. A mere two years later, the first phase of the new capital building was completed. It’s fun to think that Lincoln was home to 30 people when it was named the capital. Now, more than 250,000 people call Lincoln home.
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