Lincoln, Nebraska

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Not to be confused with Lincoln County, Nebraska.
Lincoln, Nebraska
Downtown Lincoln skyline
Downtown Lincoln skyline
Flag of Lincoln, Nebraska
Official seal of Lincoln, Nebraska
Nickname(s): Star City
Location in Nebraska
Location in Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska is located in USA
Lincoln, Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska
Location in the United States
Coordinates: Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Country  United States of America
State  Nebraska
County 23x15px Lancaster
Founded Lancaster 1856
Renamed Lincoln July 29, 1867
Incorporated April 1, 1869
Named for Abraham Lincoln
 • Type Strong Mayor-Council
 • Mayor Chris Beutler (D)
 • City Council
 • U.S. Congress Jeff Fortenberry (R)
 • City 91.77 sq mi (237.68 km2)
 • Land 90.42 sq mi (234.19 km2)
 • Water 1.35 sq mi (3.50 km2)
 • Urban 89.61 sq mi (232.09 km2)
 • Metro 1,422.27 sq mi (3,683.66 km2)
Elevation 1,176 ft (358 m)
Population (2010)[4]
 • City 258,379 (US: 72nd)
 • Estimate (2014[5]) 272,996
 • Density 2,974.8/sq mi (1,148.6/km2)
 • Urban 258,719 (US: 145th)
 • Metro 318,945 (US: 155th)
Demonym(s) Lincolnite
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code(s) 68501-68510, 68512, 68514, 68516-68517, 68520-68524, 68526-68529, 68531-68532, 68542, 68544, 68583, 68588
Area code(s) 402, 531
FIPS code 31-28000
GNIS feature ID 0837279[6]

Lincoln /ˈlɪŋkən/ is the capital of the State of Nebraska and the second-most populous city in Nebraska.[7] Lincoln is also the county seat of Lancaster County[8] Lincoln is located in the southeastern part of Nebraska and is in the Lincoln metropolitan (statistical) area.[9] Lincoln's population in 2014 was estimated at 272,996.[5]

Lincoln was founded as the village of Lancaster on the wild salt flats of what was to become Lancaster County.[10] A short time later, Lancaster was renamed Lincoln and became Nebraska's capital.[11]

Sometimes referred to as the "Star City", many of Lincoln's primary employers fall within the service and manufacturing industries, including a growing high tech sector.[12][13][14] The city is the home of the University of Nebraska,[15] has an unemployment rate of 1.9% (November 2015, preliminary)[16] and has the second tallest capitol building in the United States.


Pioneer Lincoln

Prior to the expansion westward of settlers, the prairie was covered with buffalo grass. Plains Indians, descendants of indigenous peoples who occupied the area for thousands of years, lived in and hunted along Salt Creek. The Pawnee, which included four tribes, lived in villages along the Platte River. The Great Sioux Nation, including the Ihanktowan-Ihanktowana and the Lakota located to the north and west, used Nebraska as a hunting and skirmish ground, although they did not have any long-term settlements in the state. An occasional buffalo could still be seen in the plat of Lincoln in the 1860s.[17]


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Lincoln, as seen in 1868

Lincoln was founded in 1856 as the village of Lancaster and became the county seat of the newly created Lancaster County in 1859. The village was sited on the east bank of Salt Creek. The first settlers were attracted to the area due to the abundance of salt. Once J. Sterling Morton developed his salt mines in Kansas, salt in the village was no longer a viable commodity.[18] Captain W. T. Donovan, a former steamer captain, and his family settled on Salt Creek in 1856. In the fall of 1859, the village settlers met to form a county. A caucus was formed and the committee, which included Captain Donovan, selected the village of Lancaster to be the county seat. The county was named Lancaster. After the passage of the 1862 Homestead Act, homesteaders began to inhabit the area. The first plat was dated August 6, 1864.[17]

By the close of 1868, Lancaster had a population of approximately 500 people.[19] The township of Lancaster was renamed Lincoln with the incorporation of the city of Lincoln on April 1, 1869. In 1869, the University of Nebraska was established in Lincoln by the state with a land grant of about 130,000 acres. Construction of University Hall, the first building, began the same year.

State Capital

The capital of the Nebraska Territory had been Omaha since the creation of the territory in 1854; however, most of the territory's population lived south of the Platte River. After much of the territory south of the Platte River considered annexation to Kansas, the territorial legislature voted to locate the capital city south of the river and as far west as possible.

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Thomas P. Kennard house

Prior to the vote to remove the capital city from Omaha, a last ditch effort by Omaha Senator J. N. H. Patrick attempted to derail the move by having the future capital city named after recently assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. Many of the people south of the Platte River had been sympathetic to the Confederate cause in the recently concluded Civil War. It was assumed that senators south of the river would not vote to pass the measure if the future capital was named after the former president. In the end, the motion to name the future capital city Lincoln was ineffective and the vote to change the capital's location south of the Platte River was successful with the passage of the Removal Act.[20][21]

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Goodhue-designed Nebraska State Capitol

Nebraska was granted statehood on March 1, 1867. The Removal Act called for the formation of a Capital Commission to locate a site for the capital on state owned land. The Commission, composed of Governor David Butler, Secretary of State Thomas Kennard and Auditor John Gillespie, began to tour sites on July 18, 1867 for the new capital city. The village of Lancaster was chosen, in part due to the salt flats and marshes.[10][22] Lancaster had approximately 30 residents. Disregarding the original plat of the village of Lancaster, Thomas Kennard platted Lincoln on a broader scale. The plat of the village of Lancaster was not dissolved nor abandoned; Lancaster became Lincoln when the Lincoln plat files were finished September 6, 1867.[23] To raise money for the construction of a capital city, a successful auction of lots was held. Newcomers began to arrive and Lincoln's population grew. The Nebraska State Capitol was completed on December 1, 1868; a two story building constructed with native limestone with a central cupola. The Kennard house, built in 1869, is the oldest remaining building in the original plat of Lincoln.

In 1888 a new capitol building was constructed on the site of the first capitol. The new building replaced the former structurally unsound capitol. The second capitol building was a classical design, designed by architect William H. Willcox.[24] Construction began on a third capitol building in 1922. Bertram G. Goodhue was selected in a national competition as its architect. By 1924, the first phase of construction was completed and state offices moved into the new building. In 1925, the Willcox designed capitol building was razed. The Goodhue designed capitol was constructed in four phases, with the completion of the fourth phase in 1932.[25] The completion of the original Goodhue design will be finally realized with the completion of the capitol fountains within the four interior courtyards of the capitol building in 2017.[25]

Growth and expansion

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Government Square; U.S. Post Office and Courthouse (1879-1906), City Hall (1906-1969).

The worldwide economic depression of 1890 saw the reduction of Lincoln's population from 55,000 to 37,000 by 1900. Volga-German immigrants from Russia settled in the North Bottoms neighborhood and as Lincoln expanded with the growth in population, the city began to annex towns nearby. The first town annexed was Bethany Heights in 1922. Bethany Heights was incorporated in 1890.[18] In 1929, the city annexed the town College View. College View was incorporated in 1892. Union College, a Seventh Day Adventist institution, was founded in College View in 1891. In 1930, the city annexed the town of Havelock. Havelock actively opposed annexation to Lincoln and only relented due to a strike by the Burlington railroad shop workers which halted progress & growth for the city.[18]

The Burlington & Missouri River Railroad's first train arrived in Lincoln on June 26, 1870, soon to be followed by the Midland Pacific in 1871 and the Atchison & Nebraska in 1872. The Union Pacific began service in 1877. The Chicago & North Western and Missouri Pacific began service in 1886. The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific extended service to Lincoln in 1892. Lincoln became a rail center hub.[18]

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Detroit-Lincoln-Denver (D-L-D) Highway monument

As automobile travel became more common in the U.S., the needs for better roads in Nebraska and throughout the U.S. grew. The Omaha-Denver Trans-Continental Route Association in 1911, with support from the Good Roads Movement, established the Omaha-Lincoln-Denver Highway (O-L-D) through Lincoln. The goal was having the most efficient highway to travel on throughout the state of Nebraska, from Omaha to Denver.[26] In 1920, the Omaha-Denver Association merged with the Detroit-Lincoln-Denver Highway Association. As a result, the O-L-D was renamed the Detroit-Lincoln-Denver Highway (D-L-D) with the goal of having a continuous highway from Detroit to Denver. The goal was eventually realized by the mid 1920s; 1,700 mi (2,700 km) of constantly improved highway through six states.[27] The auto route was a tourist magnet and traffic was heavy. Businesses were built and facilities were established in towns along the route in order to keep up with traveler demand. In 1924, the D-L-D was officially designated as Nebraska State Highway 6. In 1926, the highway became part of the Federal Highway System and was renumbered U.S. Route 38.[28] In 1931, U.S. 38 was renumbered as a U.S. 6/U.S. 38 overlap and in 1933, the U.S. 38 route designation was dropped.

refer to caption
Arrow Sport, Lincoln Airport.

In the early years of air travel, Lincoln had three airports and one airfield.[29] Union Airport, was established northeast of Lincoln in 1920. Charles Lindbergh learned to fly at the Lincoln Flying School April 1, 1922. The Lincoln Flying School was founded by E.J. Sias in a building he built at 2145 O Street.[30] The flying school closed in 1947. Some remnants of the old airport can still be seen today in-between N. 56th and N. 70th Streets, north of Fletcher Avenue; mangled within a slowly developing industrial zone. Arrow Airport was established around 1925 as a manufacturing and test facility for Arrow Aircraft and Motors Corporation, primarily the Arrow Sport. The airfield was located near Havelock; or to the west of where the North 48th Street Small Vehicle Transfer Station is located today. Arrow Aircraft & Motors declared bankruptcy in 1939 and Arrow Airport closed roughly several decades later.[31] An existing Arrow Sport can be seen on permanent display, hanging in the Lincoln Airport's main passenger terminal.[29][32] The city's small municipal airfield in 1930 was dedicated to Charles Lindbergh and named Lindbergh Field for a short period of time as another airfield was named Lindbergh in California. The airfield was north of Salt Lake, in an area known variously over the years as Huskerville, Arnold Heights and Air Park; and was located approximately within the western half of the West Lincoln Township.[33][34][35] The air field was a stop for United Airlines in 1927 and a mail stop in 1928.[36] In 1942 the Lincoln Army Airfield was established at the site. During World War II, over 25,000 aviation mechanics were trained with over 40,000 troopers being processed for combat. The Army closed the base in 1945. The Air Force reactivated the base during the Korean War in 1952. In 1966, the base was closed and Lincoln annexed the airfield, including the base's old housing units to the west.[33] The base became the Lincoln Municipal Airport under ownership of the Lincoln Airport Authority. Around the turn of the 21st century, the airport was renamed the Lincoln Airport. The authority shared facilities with the Nebraska National Guard, who continued ownership over some portions of the old Air Force base.[37] During the 1960s, the two main airlines serving the Lincoln Airport were United Airlines and the original Frontier Airlines.

As train, automobile, and air travel increased, business flourished, and the city prospered. The population of Lincoln increased 38.2% from 1920 to a population of 75,933 in 1930.[38]

Revitalization and growth

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Lincoln on a late Sunday night (2015).

The downtown core retail district from 1959 to 1984 saw profound changes as retail shopping moved from downtown to the suburban Gateway Shopping Mall. In 1956, Bankers Life Insurance Company of Nebraska announced plans to build a $6 million shopping center next to their new campus on the east-side outskirts of Lincoln. Gateway Mall was completed and open for business at 60th and O streets in 1960.[39][40] By 1984, 75% of Lincoln's revenue from retail sales tax came from within a one-mile radius of the Mall.[41] With the exodus of retail and service businesses, the downtown core began to decline and deteriorate.

The Nebraska legislature in 1969 legislated laws for urban renewal and shortly thereafter Lincoln began a program of revitalization and beautification of the city. Most of the urban renewal projects focused on downtown and the Near South areas. Beautification included new street lighting. Many ideas were considered and not implemented. Successes included Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, designed by Philip Johnson; new branch libraries, the First National Bank Building and the National Bank of Commerce Building designed by I.M. Pei.[42]

In 1971, an expansion of Gateway Mall was completed. Lincoln's first woman mayor, Helen Boosalis, was elected in 1975. Mayor Boosalis was a strong supporter of the revitalization of Lincoln with the downtown beautification project being completed in 1978. In 1979, the square-block downtown Centrum was opened and connected to buildings with a skywalk. The Centrum was a two-level shopping mall with a garage for 1,038 cars. With the beautification and urban renewal projects, many historic buildings were razed in the city.[42] In 2007 and 2009, the city of Lincoln received beautification grants for improvements on O and West O Streets, west of the Harris Overpass, commemorating the history of the D-L-D.[27][43]

Vietnamese refugees, from the fall of Saigon in 1975, established a significant ethnic community with businesses along the 27th Street corridor alongside Mexican eateries and African markets.[44] Lincoln was designated as a "Refugee Friendly" city by the U.S. Department of State in 1990. In 2000, Lincoln was the 12th largest resettlement site per capita in the country.[45] As of 2011, Lincoln had the largest Karen (Burmese ethnic minority) population in the Unites States, behind Omaha.[46][47] As of the same year, Nebraska was one of the largest resettlement sites for the people of Sudan (most in Lincoln & Omaha).[48] Also in recent years, Lincoln is believed to have the largest Yazidi (Iraqi ethnic minority) population in the U.S.[49][50]

The decade from 1990 to 2000 saw a population growth never seen before.[51] North 27th Street and Cornhusker Highway were redeveloped with new housing and businesses built. The boom housing market in south Lincoln created new housing developments including high end housing in areas like Cripple Creek, Willamsburg and The Ridge. The shopping center Southpointe Pavilions was completed in competition of Gateway Mall.

In 2001, Gateway Mall was purchased by Westfield America Trust.[52] Westfield renamed the mall Westfield Shoppingtown Gateway; then in 2005, Westfield Gateway.[53] Westfield made a $45 million makeover of the mall in 2005 including an expanded food court, a new west-side entrance and installation of an Italian carousel.[54] In 2012, Westfield America Trust sold Westfield Gateway to Starwood Capital Group. Starwood reverted the mall's name from Westfield Gateway to Gateway Mall.[52][55] Since 2012, Starwood Capital Group has made incremental expansions and renovations.

In 2015, ALLO Communications announced that it would bring ultra-high speed fiber internet to the city. Speeds up to 1 Gigabit per second were planned for both business and household use by using the city's existing fiber network. Construction on the citywide network was to begin in March 2016 and was estimated to be complete by 2019.[56] Telephone and cable TV service would also be included,[57] making it the third company to compete for such services within Lincoln. In the same year, Windstream Communications announced that 1 Gigabit internet would be come to the city, using its existing fiber network. Installation was to begin in 2016, although it was not initially clear how many homes or businesses would have access.[58]


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Detailed map of Lincoln streets and features
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View from the International Space Station (ISS, 2007); photo centered on northeast Lincoln.

Lincoln is located at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. . According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2014, the city has a total area of 91.77 square miles (237.68 km2), of which, 90.42 square miles (234.19 km2) of it is land and 1.35 square miles (3.50 km2) is water.[1]

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.[59] The city's growth over the years has led to development of the surrounding land, much of which is composed of gently rolling hills. In recent years, Lincoln's northward growth has encroached on the habitat of the endangered Salt Creek tiger beetle.[60]

Metropolitan area

The Lincoln metropolitan area consists of Lancaster County and Seward County,[9] 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 town that may be considered a suburb of Lincoln is Waverly. This is due primarily to the fact that most land that would otherwise be developed as a suburban town has already been annexed by the city of Lincoln itself.


refer to caption
View of south Lincoln from the top of the Nebraska State Capitol (2012).

Lincoln's neighborhoods, like in other cities, include both old and new development. Some neighborhoods in Lincoln were formerly small towns that Lincoln later annexed, including University Place annexed in 1926, Belmont, Bethany (Bethany Heights) annexed in 1922, College View annexed in 1929, Havelock annexed in 1930, and West Lincoln annexed in 1966.[18] A number of Historic Districts are located near downtown Lincoln, while newer neighborhoods have appeared primarily in the south and east.[61] As of December 2013, Lincoln had 45 registered neighborhood associations within the city limits.[62]


Located on the Great Plains far from the moderating influence of mountains or large bodies of water, Lincoln possesses a highly variable four-season humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa): winters are cold but relatively dry, summers are hot and occasionally humid.[63] With little precipitation falling during winter, precipitation is concentrated in the warmer months, when thunderstorms frequently roll in, often producing tornadoes. Snow averages 25.9 inches (66 cm) per season but seasonal accumulation has ranged from 7.2 in (18 cm) in 1967–68 to 54.3 in (138 cm) in 1959–60.[64] Snow tends to fall in light amounts, though blizzards are possible.

refer to caption
Sky over Lincoln after a late summer thunderstorm.

There is an average of 39 days with a snow depth of 1 in (2.5 cm) or more. The average window for freezing temperatures is October 5 thru April 25, allowing a growing season of 162 days.[64]

The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 24.6 °F (−4.1 °C) in January to 77.6 °F (25.3 °C) in July. However, the city is subject both to episodes of bitter cold in winter and heat waves during summer, with 11.4 nights of sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows, 41 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs, and 4.6 days of 100 °F (38 °C)+ highs.[64] The city straddles the boundary of USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5b and 6a.[65] Temperature extremes have ranged from −33 °F (−36 °C) on January 12, 1974 up to 115 °F (46 °C) on July 25, 1936.[64] Readings as high as 105 °F (41 °C) or as low as −20 °F (−29 °C) occur somewhat rarely; the last occurrence of each was July 22, 2012 and February 3, 1996.[64]

Based on 30-year averages obtained from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center for the months of December, January and February, Weather Channel ranked Lincoln the 7th coldest major U.S. city as of 2014[66]


In 2014, the Lincoln-Beatrice area was among the "Cleanest U.S. Cities for Ozone Air Pollution" in the American Lung Association's "State of the Air 2014" report.[69]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 2,441
1880 13,003 432.7%
1890 55,164 324.2%
1900 40,169 −27.2%
1910 43,973 9.5%
1920 54,948 25.0%
1930 75,933 38.2%
1940 81,984 8.0%
1950 98,884 20.6%
1960 128,521 30.0%
1970 149,518 16.3%
1980 171,932 15.0%
1990 191,972 11.7%
2000 225,581 17.5%
2010 258,379 14.5%
Est. 2014 272,996 [70] 5.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[71]
2014 Estimate[5]

The U.S. Government designated Lincoln in the 1970s as a refugee-friendly city due to its stable economy, educational institutions, and size. Since then, refugees from Vietnam settled in Lincoln, and further waves came from other countries.[72] More recently, Lincoln was named one of the "Top Ten most Welcoming Cities in America" by Welcoming America.[73][74]

2010 census

As of the census[4] of 2010, there were 258,379 people, 103,546 households, and 60,300 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,899.6 inhabitants per square mile (1,119.5/km2). There were 110,546 housing units at an average density of 1,240.6 per square mile (479.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 86.0% White, 3.8% African American, 0.8% Native American, 3.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.5% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.3% of the population.

refer to caption
View of Downtown Lincoln and surrounding neighborhoods (2005).

There were 103,546 households of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.0% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.8% were non-families. 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.01.

The median age in the city was 31.8 years. 22.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 15.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.9% were from 25 to 44; 22.9% were from 45 to 64; and 10.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.0% male and 50.0% female.


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Bryan Medical Center East
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Fort Western store
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Lincoln Public Schools district office
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CHI Health St. Elizabeth

Lincoln's economy is fairly typical of a mid-sized American city; most economic activity is derived from the service and manufacturing industries.[12] Government and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are both large contributors to the local economy. Other prominent industries in Lincoln include finance, insurance, publishing, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, railroads,[75] high technology,[12] information technology, medical, education and truck transport.

For November 2015, Lincoln's preliminary unemployment rate was 1.9% (not seasonally adjusted; Lincoln's lowest unemployment rate since December 2000).[16][76] With such a tight labor market, Lincoln has seen rapid wage growth. From the summer of 2014 to the summer of 2015, the average hourly pay for both public & private employees have increased by 11%. From October 2014 to October 2015, wages were also up by 8.4%.[77]

One of the largest employers is Bryan Health, which consists of two major hospitals and several large outpatient facilities located across the city. Healthcare and medical jobs account for a substantial portion of Lincoln's employment: as of 2009, full-time healthcare employees in the city included 9,010 healthcare practitioners in technical occupations, 4,610 workers in healthcare support positions, 780 licensed and vocational nurses, and 150 medical and clinical laboratory technicians.[78]

Several national business were originally established in Lincoln; these include student lender Nelnet, Ameritas, Assurity, Fort Western Stores and HobbyTown USA. Several regional restaurant chains began in Lincoln, including Amigos/Kings Classic,[79] Runza Restaurants and Valentino's.[80]

The Lincoln area make up a part of what is known as the greater Midwest Silicon Prairie.[12][13][14][81][82] In 2013, Lincoln ranked No. 4 on Forbes' list of the Best Places for Business and Careers[83] and No. 1 on "NerdWallet"'s Best Cities for Job Seekers in 2015.[84]

Top employers

According to the City's 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[85] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 State of Nebraska 8,988
2 Lincoln Public Schools 7,975
3 University of Nebraska–Lincoln 6,179
4 Bryan Health 3,796
5 US Government 3,206
6 City of Lincoln 2,589
7 St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center 2,350
8 Burlington Northern Railroad 2,000
9 Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital 1,400
10 B&R Stores 1,391


The Nebraska Air & Army National Guard's Joint Force Headquarters are located in Lincoln along with other major units of the Nebraska National Guard.[86] During the early years of the Cold War, the Lincoln Airport was the Lincoln Air Force Base;[87] currently, the Nebraska Air National Guard, along with the Nebraska Army National Guard, have joint-use facilities with the Lincoln Airport.

Arts and culture

Lincoln's primary venues for live music include: Pinnacle Bank Arena,[88] Bourbon Theatre, Duffy's Tavern, Knickerbockers and the Zoo Bar. The Pla-Mor Ballroom is a staple of Lincoln's music and dance scene, featuring its house band, the award-winning Sandy Creek Band.

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Downtown Lincoln at night, 14th and O Streets

The Lied Center is a venue for national tours of Broadway productions, concert music, and guest lectures.[89] Lincoln has several performing arts venues. Plays are staged by UNL students in the Temple Building;[90] community theater productions are held at the Lincoln Community Playhouse,[91] the Loft at The Mill, and the Haymarket Theater.

For movie viewing, Marcus Theatres owns 32 screens at four locations, and the University of Nebraska's Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center shows independent and foreign films.[92] Standalone cinemas in Lincoln include the Joyo Theater and Rococo Theater. The Rococo Theater also hosts benefits and other engagements.[93] The downtown section of O Street is Lincoln's primary bar and nightclub district.

Lincoln is the hometown of Zager and Evans, known for their international No. 1 hit record, "In the Year 2525".[94] It is also the home town of several notable musical groups, such as Remedy Drive, VOTA, the Bathtub Dogs, For Against, Lullaby for the Working Class, Matthew Sweet, Dirtfedd, The Show is the Rainbow and Straight. Lincoln is home to Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine.

In 2012, the city was listed among the 10 best places to retire in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.[95]

Annual cultural events

Like in many cities, annual events in Lincoln have come and gone throughout time, such as Band Day at UNL[96] and the Star City Holiday Parade.[97] At the same time, however, some events have never changed while new traditions are created. Some current annual cultural events in Lincoln include the Lincoln National Guard Marathon & Half-Marathon in May,[98] Celebrate Lincoln in early June,[99] the Uncle Sam Jam around July 3,[100] and Boo at the Zoo in October.[101] An often local favorite to some is the Haymarket Farmers' Market, running from May to October in the Historic Haymarket,[102] one of several farmers markets throughout the city.[103]


Tourist attractions and activities include the Sunken Gardens,[104] basketball games at Pinnacle Bank Arena,[88] the Lincoln Children's Zoo, the dairy store at UNL's East Campus,[105] and Mueller Planetarium on the city campus.[106] The Nebraska State Capitol,[107] which is also the tallest building in Lincoln,[108] offers tours. The Frank H. Woods Telephone Museum[109] exhibits historical telephone technology.


Lincoln is home to the university's football team, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. In total, the University of Nebraska fields 22 men's and women's teams in 14 NCAA Division I sports.[110] Other sports teams are the Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolves, a GPAC & NCAA Division III independent University;[111] the Lincoln Saltdogs,[112] an American Association independent minor league baseball team; the Lincoln Stars, a USHL junior ice hockey team;[113] the No Coast Derby Girls, a member of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association.[114]

Parks and recreation

Lincoln has an extensive park system, with over 125 individual parks. The parks are connected by a 133 mi (214 km)[115] system of recreational trails. The MoPac Trail extends through Lincoln. Regional parks include:

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MoPac Trail East, Novartis Trailhead entrance.

Community parks include Ballard Park, Bethany Park, Bowling Lake Park, Densmore Park, Erwin Peterson Park, Fleming Fields, Irvingdale Park, Mahoney Park, Max E. Roper Park, Oak Lake Park, Peter Pan Park, Pine Lake Park, Sawyer Snell Park, Seacrest Park, Tierra Briarhurst, University Place Park and Woods Park.[124]

Other notable parks:

Smaller neighborhood parks are scattered throughout the city.[124] Additionally, there are five public recreation centers, nine outdoor public pools and five public golf courses not including private facilities in Lincoln.[115]


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County-City Building

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.[130] 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.

Since Lincoln is the state capital, many Nebraska state agencies and offices are located in Lincoln, as are several United States Government agencies and offices. The city lies within the Lincoln Public Schools school district;[131] the primary law enforcement agency for the city is the Lincoln Police Department. The Lincoln Fire and Rescue Department shoulders the city's fire fighting and emergency ambulatory services while private companies provide non-emergency medical transport[132] and outlying areas of the city are supported by volunteer fire fighting units.[133]

The city's public library system is Lincoln City Libraries, which has seven branches.[134] Lincoln City Libraries circulates more than three million items per year to the residents of Lincoln and Lancaster County. Lincoln City Libraries is also home to Polley Music Library and the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska authors.[134]


Primary and secondary education

Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) is the sole public school district in the city. There are six traditional high schools in the district: Lincoln High, East, Northeast, North Star, Southeast, and Southwest. Additionally, LPS is home to special interest high school programs, including the Arts and Humanities Focus Program, the Science Focus Program (Zoo School), The Career Academy and the Bryan Community School. Other programs include the Don D. Sherrill Education Center, the Pathfinder Education Program and the Yankee Hill Program.[135]

There are several private parochial elementary and middle schools located throughout the community.[136] These schools, like Lincoln Public Schools, are broken into districts, but most will allow attendance outside of boundary lines. Private high schools located in Lincoln are College View Academy, Lincoln Christian, Lincoln Lutheran, Parkview Christian School and Pius X High School.[136]

English Language Learners

At Lincoln Public Schools, during the 2015-16 school year, the English Language Learners (ELL) program had approximately 2,600 students from 118 countries, of whom spoke 96 different languages.[137] The top two first-language groups were Arabic & Kurdish speakers (31.8%); Spanish speakers (31.3%).[138] From the 2010-11 to the 2015-16 school years, LPS saw Arabic and Kurdish ELL students increase by 800%:[139] From 63 Kurdish & 17 Arabic speaking students in 2010-11, to 490 Arabic & 285 Kurdish in 2015-16.[138] The continually increasing influx of refugees & immigrants to Lincoln over recent years, which has included refugees/immigrants from Iraq, Mexico, Burma & refugee camps in Thailand, has caused LPS to hire additional ELL teachers at an increasingly rapid pace.[140]

Colleges and universities

There are currently nine colleges and universities located within Lincoln proper. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln,[15] the flagship campus of the University of Nebraska system, is the oldest and largest university in Nebraska with 19,979 undergraduate, 4,517 postgraduate students and 510 professionals enrolled in 2014. Out of the 25,006 enrolled,[141] 1,515 undergraduate and 970 postgraduate students/professionals were international.[142]

Bryan College of Health Sciences offers undergraduate degrees in nursing and other health professions; a Masters in Nursing; a Doctoral degree in nurse anesthesia practice, as well as certificate programs for ancillary health professions.[143]

Nebraska Wesleyan University, as of 2013, has 1,927 undergraduate and 222 postgraduate students.[144] The school teaches in the tradition of a liberal arts college education. Nebraska Wesleyan was ranked the #1 liberal arts college in Nebraska by U.S. News and World Report in 2002. In 2009, Forbes ranked it 84th of America's Best Colleges.[145] It remains affiliated with the United Methodist Church.[146]

Union College is a private Seventh-day Adventist four-year coeducational college with 911 students enrolled 2013-14.[147][148]

Southeast Community College[149] is a community college system located in southeastern Nebraska, with three campuses in Lincoln and an enrollment of 9,751 students as of fall 2013.[150] The two-year Academic Transfer program is popular amongst students wanting to get their general education requirements completed before moving to a four-year institution as a Junior. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is the most popular transfer location.

Colleges and universities with satellite locations in Lincoln are Bellevue University,[151] Concordia University (Nebraska),[152] Doane College[153] and Kaplan University.[154]

Other schools, not to be confused with the colleges above, are the College of Hair Design[155] and Joseph's College of Cosmetology.[156]


refer to caption
Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET)


Lincoln has four licensed broadcast television stations:[157]

The headquarters of Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET), which is affiliated with the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio, are in Lincoln.[161]

Lincoln is one of the few cities without its own NBC affiliate; Omaha's WOWT served as the city's default NBC affiliate until recently when Hastings' KHAS-TV moved to KSNB-TV, making both available on cable.[162] Omaha's other television stations can also be picked up in Lincoln with an antenna, and all full-power stations are available on cable.

Lincoln also has an analog TV translator for 3ABN on channel 27, low power digital on channel 26; TBN low power digital on channel 29.[157]


refer to caption
Radio station studio KLIN-AM

There are 14 radio stations licensed in Lincoln, not including radio stations licensed outside of the city that serve the Lincoln area.

FM stations include:[163]

  • KLCV (88.5) – Religious talk
  • KZUM (89.3) – Independent Community Radio
  • KRNU (90.3) – Alternative / College radio UNL
  • KUCV (91.1) – National Public Radio
  • K220GT (91.9) – Contemporary Christian
  • K233AN (94.5) – Hot AC/Top 40
  • K277CA (103.3) – News/Talk
  • KLNC (105.3) – Adult Hits
  • KFRX (106.3) – Top-40
  • KBBK (107.3) – Hot AC
  • KJFT-LP (107.9) – Chinese-language Christian

AM stations include:[164]

  • KFOR (1240) – News/Talk
  • KLIN (1400) – News/Talk
  • KLMS (1480) – Sports Talk

Most areas of Lincoln also receive radio signals from Omaha and other surrounding communities.


The Lincoln Journal Star is the city's major daily newspaper;[165] the Daily Nebraskan is the official campus paper of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln;[166] The DailyER Nebraskan is the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's biweekly satirical paper;[167] the Reveille is the official periodical campus paper of Nebraska Wesleyan University;[168] the Clocktower is the official weekly campus paper of Union College.[169]



Error creating thumbnail: File with dimensions greater than 25 MP
Street and highway map of Lincoln

Major highways

Lincoln is served by I-80.svg Interstate 80 via 7.25 interchanges, connecting the city to San Francisco and Teaneck, New Jersey[170] (in the New York City Metropolitan Area). Other Highways that serve the Lincoln area are I-180.svg Interstate 180, US 6.svg U.S. Highway 6, US 34.svg U.S. Highway 34, US 77.svg U.S. Highway 77 and nearby N-79.svg Nebraska Highway 79. N-2.svg Nebraska Highway 2 (eastern segment) is a primary trucking route that connects Kansas City (Interstate 29) to the I-80 corridor in Lincoln.[171] A few additional minor State Highway segments reside within the city as well.[172]

Mass transit

A public bus transit system, StarTran, operates in Lincoln. StarTran's fleet consists of 67 full-sized buses and 13 Handi-Vans.[173]

Intercity transit

refer to caption
Aerial view of the Lincoln Airport passenger terminal.

The Lincoln Airport (KLNK/LNK) provides passengers with daily non-stop service to United Airlines hubs Chicago O'Hare International Airport & Denver International Airport as well as Delta Air Lines hubs Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport & Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. General aviation support is provided through several private aviation companies.[174] The Lincoln Airport was among the emergency landing sites for the NASA Space Shuttle.[175] The site was chosen chiefly because of a 12,901 feet (3,932 m) runway; the longest of three at the airport.[176]

Lincoln is served by Black Hills Stage Lines for regional bus service between Omaha, Denver and points beyond.[177]

Amtrak provides service to Lincoln, operating its California Zephyr daily in each direction between Chicago and Emeryville, California, using BNSF's Lincoln - Denver route through Nebraska.

Rail freight

Rail freight travels coast-to-coast, to & through Lincoln via BNSF Railway, the Union Pacific Railroad, Lincoln's own Omaha, Lincoln and Beatrice Railway Company[178] and an Omaha Public Power District rail spur.[179] Lincoln was once served by the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad (Rock Island), the Missouri Pacific Railroad (MoPac) and the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company (C&NW)[180] (most of the abandoned right-of-way of these former railroads have since been turned into bicycle trails).


Power in Lincoln is provided by the Lincoln Electric System (LES). The LES service area covers 200 square miles, serving not only Lincoln but also several other communities outside of the city. A public utility,[181] LES's electric rates are the 13th lowest in the nation (according to a nationwide survey conducted by LES, as of January 1, 2014).[182] Current LES power supply resources are 43% coal, 42% oil & gas and 15% renewable.[183] Power derived by renewable resources are expected to climb to 48% by 2016, with partial help from the addition of an LES-owned 5 Megawatt solar energy farm that will be built on the west side of Lincoln[184] (expected to be in service by 2016).[183][185] LES also owns two wind turbines in the northeast part of the city.[186]

Water in Lincoln is provided through the Lincoln Water System.[187] In the 1920s, the city of Lincoln undertook the task of building the Lincoln Municipal Lighting and Warterworks Plant (building designed by Fiske & Meginnis). The building worked as the main hub for water from nearby wells and power in Lincoln for decades until it was replaced and turned into an apartment building.[188] Today, most of Lincoln's water originates from wells along the Platte River near Ashland, Nebraska.[189] Wastewater is in turn collected by the Lincoln Wastewater System.[190] Both systems are owned by the city of Lincoln.

Natural gas is provided by Black Hills Energy.[191]

Landline telephone service has had a storied history within the Lincoln area. Beginning as the Lincoln Telephone & Telegraph Company (more recently merging to become Aliant Communications and then Alltel),[192] Windstream Communications[193] provides telephone service both over VoIP and conventional telephone circuits.[194] Time Warner Cable offers telephone service over VoIP on their cable network.[195][196] In addition, over the next few years, ALLO Communications will begin providing telephone service over their future fiber network.[197][198]

Health care

Lincoln has three major hospitals within two health care systems serving the city; CHI Health St. Elizabeth and Bryan Health. Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital is a geriatric facility and a physical medicine & rehabilitation center.

See also



  1. Official records for Lincoln kept at University of Nebraska–Lincoln (Weather Bureau) from January 1887 to December 1947, Lincoln Municipal Airport from January 1948 to June 1954, Lincoln University (campus) from July 1954 to August 1955, the Weather Bureau in downtown from September 1955 to August 1972, and at Lincoln Municipal Airport since September 1972.[67]
  2. Only 20 to 22 years of data were used to calculate relative humidity normals.


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Cited works

External links

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