What is the Capital of Nebraska?

Lincoln skyline and Nebraska State Capitol
Lincoln skyline and Nebraska State Capitol

The capital of Nebraska is Lincoln, having become the capital in 1867.

Within this post, we will talk about where exactly the capital of Nebraska is located, a brief history of Lincoln, when and why it became the capital, and some fun things to do in the area.

Where Is The Capital Of Nebraska Located?

Where Is The Capital Of Nebraska Located
Where Is The Capital Of Nebraska Located

The capital of Nebraska is located in Lincoln. It is geographically located in the center of the US mainland, as one of the states in the Great Plains. 

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Nebraska is bordered by Kansas to the south, South Dakota to the north, Colorado to the southwest, Wyoming to the west, and Iowa and Missouri to the east. The closest city to Lincoln is Omaha (50 miles away), followed by Kansas CITY MO (162 miles away) and then Wichita KS (219 miles away). 

The largest city in Nebraska is Omaha, although the capital city of Nebraska is Lincoln.

Brief History of Lincoln

The Nebraska State Capitol Building in downtown Lincoln
The Nebraska State Capitol Building in downtown Lincoln

Before Lincoln became as it is known today, it was an area covered in buffalo grass and known as a prairie. The original occupants were the early village people who lived for many years in the area, before the Pawnee and the Plains Indians began to hunt in the area.

Around this time, there were only around 30 residents in the whole area. Then, settlers came to the area to extract salt from Salt Creek, and in 1867 Nebraska was granted statehood.

By then, the railroads had begun to use Lincoln as a stop, and the city became a rail center. The Omaha-Lincoln-Denver Highway (O-L-D) was established, and from there following the establishment of Union Airport, Gateway Mall, and in 1975, Lincoln’s first female mayor was elected. 

Since then, the area has changed dramatically. It was originally called Lancaster, but this changed in 1867 when it became the state of Nebraska. In 1990, Lincoln was designated a ‘refugee friendly’ city, and now the city has expanded to house those from all over the globe. 

When did Lincoln become the Capital of Nebraska?

The Pillars, or Columns, now in Pioneers Park, Lincoln, Nebraska, are remnants of the old Federal Treasury Building during its 1907
The Pillars, or Columns, now in Pioneers Park, Lincoln, Nebraska, are remnants of the old Federal Treasury Building during its 1907

Lincoln became the capital of Nebraska in 1867 after only having been founded 11 years before. It then became the seat of the newly formed Lancaster County in 1869.

The first State Capitol building in Lincoln was built in 1868, but soon began to fall down due to poor construction. Two years later, a new building began to be constructed, but once this was finished it also began to crumble.

Finally, in 1915, a third attempt resulted in the final building which would then serve as the State Capitol building.

Why is Lincoln the Capital of Nebraska?

There are several reasons as to why Lincoln is the capital of Nebraska, but the main one comes down to location and convenience.

When President Andrew Johnson signed the act which created Nebraska as a state, Omaha was the capital. However, Omaha was located in the north of the Platte River, and those to the south of the river felt as though it was too far away from them. As such, they requested that the new capital should be moved to their location. 

Eventually, following many different protests, an amendment was passed to remove the capital of the state. The new capital of the state was awarded to Lincoln, due to its location and facilities.

Features of Lincoln

The size of Lincoln is approximately 260.2 km², with a population of around 286,388 (as of 2020).

Lincoln is now a hub for government, finance, education, arts, health care, and commerce, with both extensive railway connections and an airport. It is a capital which seems to have a little bit of everything for everyone, and visitors and residents alike will never run out of things to do.

Best Places to Visit in Lincoln

Nebraska State Capitol

Of course, one of the best things to visit in Lincoln is the Nebraska State Capitol building. This is an especially unique building due to the fact that it doesn’t have a traditional dome and instead has a 400-foot tower. It has a limestone exterior and through the use of carvings depicts 3000 years of democracy.

University of Nebraska State Museum

This is one of the best places to visit in the city for natural history lovers. Here, you will find the world’s biggest articulated mammoth, and an exhibition showing fossilized elephants which is well regarded world-over. There is also the Mueller Planetarium.

Memorial Stadium

The Cornhuskers are big fans of their sport team, and this nearly 90,000-person crowd is the best place to soak up the atmosphere. Here, you will also find the Hall of Fame walk outside where you can take a guided tour and visit the one, the only Bob Devaney statue.

Sunken Gardens

These gardens are a beautiful work of natural art which was founded in 1930. These gardens are one of the biggest places of pride in the whole city, and every year during the Annual Garden, over 30,000 plants create stunning designs and themes.

Museum of American Speed

As it is such an important city in regards to transport and development, you should visit the Museum of American Speed. Originally founded back in 1922, today it houses over 135,000 square feet of exhibition space.

Pioneers Park Nature Center

Another great space for those looking to enjoy the great outdoors, this nature center is the perfect place to enjoy some free outdoor fun. It also represents what the area would have looked like before modern farming, taking you back in time to see the true Great Plains.

The Sheldon Museum of Art 

Visiting the Sheldon Museum of Art is a great way to reconnect with your true artist self. Housing around 12,000 pieces of art which span across many different media, this museum is full of the most beautiful examples of both local and international art. One of the main features of the museum is the untitled big head by Jun Kaneko, which everyone should see in their lives at least once.

See Also

Capital Cities 

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!