Lincoln, Nebraska

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Lincoln, Nebraska
Flag of Lincoln, Nebraska
Seal of Lincoln, Nebraska
Nickname: "Star City"
Location of Lincoln,  Nebraska
Location in Nebraska
County Lancaster County
Mayor Coleen Seng
 - Total
 - Water

195.2 km² (75.4 mi²)
1.9 km² (0.7 mi²) 0.98% 
 - City (2000)
 - Density
 - Metropolitan

Time zone Central (UTC –6)
WGS-84 (GPS)
 40.8112° N 96.7025° W
Official Website

Lincoln is a city incoporated in Lancaster County, Nebraska, USA. Lincoln is the capital of Nebraska and is the county seat of Lancaster County. It is the second-largest city in the state (after Omaha).



Lincoln started out as the village of Lancaster, which was founded in 1856, and became the county seat of the newly-created Lancaster County in 1859. The territorial capital of Nebraska had been Omaha since the creation of the territory in 1854, but the bulk of the population wanted to move the capital to a more central location. Since most of the population was south of the Platte River, 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 nearby.

However, Omaha interests attempted to derail the move by having Lancaster renamed after the recently assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. At the time, many of the people south of the river had been sympathetic towards the Confederate cause and it was assumed that the legislature would not pass the measure if the future capital was named after the leader of the Union cause. The ploy did not work, as Lancaster was renamed Lincoln and became the state capital at the same time that Nebraska became a state, on March 1, 1867.

Law and government

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.

Many Nebraska state agencies and offices are located in Lincoln, as are serveral United States Government offices. The city lies within the Lincoln Public Schools district.


Lincoln skyline
Lincoln skyline

Lincoln is located at 40°48'35" North, 96°40'31" West (40.809868, -96.675345)1. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 195.2 km² (75.4 sq mi). 193.3 km² (74.6 sq mi) of it is land and 1.9 km² (0.7 sq mi) of it is water. The total area is 0.98% water.

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 saline wetlands of northern Lancaster County. The city's growth over the years has lead to development of the surrounding land, much of which is comprised of gently rolling hills. In recent years, Lincoln's northward growth has encroached on the habitat of the endangered Salt Creek Tiger Beetle.

Metropolitan area

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 city that can be considered a suburb of Lincoln is Waverly.


  • Arnold Heights (Huskerville): Located in far northwest Lincoln, this neighborhood began as base housing for the adjacent Lincoln AFB during World War II. The area was annexed by Lincoln in 1966, after the base closed.
  • Bethany: Bethany is located along Cotner Blvd. and Holdrege St. Originally laid out as a separate village by the Disciples of Christ, it was later annexed by Lincoln.
  • College View: College View is located along 48th St. and near Calvert St., adjacent to and surrounding the Union College campus; originally a separate village.
  • Downtown: Lincoln's business district has a mix of offices, bars and restaurants and retail.
  • Havelock: Havelock is located along Havelock Ave. east of 56th St. in northeast Lincoln; originally a separate village.
  • Hartley: Among Lincoln's earliest suburbs, Hartley is located east of Downtown proper, east of 27th St and north of O St. It is a mainly residential neighborhood of houses built 1890-1940. Hartley showcases a mix of architectural styles, and is convenient to both of UNL's campuses and Nebraska Wesleyan University. It is popular with students and young couples. Until the 1950's, it boasted three grocers, and the buildings still stand; one is now a computer store, another an upholsterer's, and the third is home base for an architectural firm. Good ethnic restaurants are close by.
  • 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, with a variety of visual and performing arts and nightlife. The Haymarket has a weekly farmers' market from May to October.
  • Highlands: The Highlands are a newer residential neighborhood in northwest Lincoln, located north of I-80 and near Lincoln Municipal Airport.
  • North Bottoms: North of downtown and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), the North Bottoms were originally settled by Germans from Russia. Today, its proximity to the University makes it a popular neighborhood for college students.
  • University Place: University Place is located along 48th St. between Leighton Ave. and Adams St., near Nebraska Wesleyan University and UNL East Campus. It was an incorporated community before its annexation by Lincoln in 1926.
  • South Bottoms: South and west of downtown, the South Bottoms were also originally settled by Germans from Russia.
  • West Lincoln: Located along West Cornhusker Hwy., West Lincoln was founded in 1887 and was an incorporated community before its annexation by Lincoln in 1966.


Lincoln has an extensive park system, with over 100 individual parks. The largest parks in Lincoln's park system are:

  • Antelope Park
  • Holmes Park
  • Oak Lake Park
  • Pioneers Park
    • Pioneer Park Nature Center
  • Wilderness Park

The park system is connected by 159 km (99 miles) of recreational trails.


Lincoln's economy is fairly typical of a larger 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 banking, information technology, insurance, and rail and truck transport.

Three regional fast-food restaurant chains began in Lincoln: Amigos/Kings Classic, Runza Restaurants and Valentino's.


Population by decade

1880 - 13,003
1890 - 55,164
1900 - 40,169
1910 - 43,973
1920 - 54,948
1930 - 75,933
1940 - 81,984
1950 - 98,884
1960 - 128,521
1970 - 149,518
1980 - 171,932
1990 - 191,972
2000 - 225,581

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 225,581 people, 90,485 households, and 53,567 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,166.9/km² (3,022.2/sq mi). There are 95,199 housing units at an average density of 492.5/km² (1,275.4/sq mi). The racial makeup of the city is 89.25% White, 3.09% African American, 0.68% Native American, 3.12% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.81% from other races, and 1.99% from two or more races. 3.61% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 90,485 households, out of which 29.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.3% are married couples living together, 9.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 40.8% are non-families. 30.4% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.36 and the average family size is 2.99.

In the city, the population is spread out with 23.0% under the age of 18, 16.4% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. For every 100 females there are 99.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 98.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $40,605, and the median income for a family is $52,558. Males have a median income of $33,899 versus $25,402 for females. The per capita income for the city is $20,984. 10.1% of the population and 5.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 10.7% of those under the age of 18 and 6.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

The 2004 Census Bureau estimate of Lincoln's population is 236,146; the 2004 population estimate for the Lincoln metropolitan area is 278,201.

Sites of interest

Nebraska State Capitol
Nebraska State Capitol

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Colleges and universities

Lincoln's largest university is the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the flagship campus of the University of Nebraska system. The University of Nebraska system offices are located in Lincoln. The city is also the home of two private colleges, Union College and Nebraska Wesleyan University. Lincoln is a Southeast Community College site and Bellevue University, Doane College, and Peru State College have satellite locations in the city.

Sports teams

Memorial Stadium
Memorial Stadium

Lincoln is best known for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cornhuskers, which fields 21 men's and women's teams in 14 NCAA Division I sports. Other sports teams are the Lincoln Saltdogs, an American Association independent minor league baseball team; the Lincoln Stars, a USHL junior ice hockey team; the Lincoln Capitols, an NIFL indoor football team; and the Lincoln Thunder, an ABA basketball team.

Notable residents

Arts, entertainment and culture

Downtown Lincoln at night (14th and O Streets)
Downtown Lincoln at night (14th and O Streets)

Lincoln's primary venues for live music include: Pershing Auditorium (large tours and national acts), Knickerbockers and Duffy's Tavern (local/regionional acts; smaller venues), and the Zoo Bar (blues).

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.

The downtown section of O Street is Lincoln's primary bar and nightclub district.

Annual events

  • March: Nebraska high school state boys' and girls' basketball tournaments
  • Tuesday evenings in June: Jazz in June, an outdoor summer concert series
  • Late July: July Jamm
  • Late August/early September: Nebraska State Fair
  • First Saturday in December: Star City Parade

Local media

Lincoln has three broadcast television stations with original programming:

  • KLKN (Channel 8; 31 DT) - ABC affiliate
  • KOLN (Channel 10; 25 DT) - CBS affiliate
  • KUON (Channel 12; 40 DT) - PBS affiliate, NET Television flagship station

The headquarters of Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET), which is affiliated with the Public Broadcasting System, National Public Radio and Public Radio International, are in Lincoln.

Seven commerical FM and three commerical AM stations serve Lincoln. The city also has four noncommerical FM stations: KLCV (88.5), a religious talk station; KZUM (89.3), freeform radio; KRNU (90.3), a UNL student-run station; and KUCV (91.1), an NET Radio station.

The Lincoln Journal Star is the city's major daily newspaper.


"Star city" logo
"Star city" logo

Lincoln's nickname is the "Star City" (from the use of a star to mark state capitals on road maps); a logo formerly used by the city's convention and visitors bureau consists of a star comprised of 5 Ls.


  1. The community now known as Lincoln was originally founded as Lancaster in 1856; in 1867, Lancaster was renamed Lincoln.

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