Omaha, Nebraska

For other uses, see Omaha (disambiguation).
Omaha, Nebraska
Missing image
Seal of Omaha, NE
MayorMike Fahey
CountyDouglas County, Nebraska
 - Total
 - Water

1,290.6 km² (498.3 mi²)
75.7 km² (29.2 mi²) 5.86%
 - Total (2003)
 -metropolitan area
 - Density

Time zoneCentral: UTC-6


41°15'38" N
95°56'15" W

City of Omaha Official Website (

Omaha is the largest city in Nebraska. It is the county seat of Douglas CountyTemplate:GR. As of the 2003 census, the city had a total population of 404,267. Located on the eastern edge of Nebraska, it is on the Missouri River about 20 miles north of where the Platte River empties into the Missouri. Omaha is the center city of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area. Council Bluffs, Iowa lies directly across the Missouri River from Omaha. Together, the two cities form the core of the 52nd-largest metropolitan area in the United States, with a population of 829,133 in 2004 with residing in eight counties.



Omaha was founded in the summer of 1854 by land speculators from Council Bluffs, months after the Kansas-Nebraska Act created the Nebraska Territory. Later that year, Omaha was chosen as the territorial capital for Nebraska. Omaha was chosen as the eastern terminus of America's first transcontinental railroad in 1862 with the passage of the Pacific Railroad Act. This ensured that Omaha would become a major transportation center for the entire country in the years to come. The loss of the capital to Lincoln in 1867 did not slow Omaha's growth in the decades to come.

Omaha's growth was accerlerated in the 1880s by the rapid development of the meatpacking industry in South Omaha; in the 1880s, Omaha was the fastest-growing city in the United States. Thousands of immigrants from central and southern Europe came to Omaha to work in the stockyards and slaughterhouses, creating Omaha's original ethnic neighborhoods in South Omaha.

The Trans-Mississippi Exposition was held in Omaha from June 1 to November 1, 1898. The exposition drew over 2 million visitors and involved construction of attractions spanning over 100 city blocks including a shipworthy lagoon, bridges and magnificent buildings.

A devastating tornado ripped through Omaha in 1913 and has become known as the Easter Sunday tornado.

A low point in Omaha's history was the Omaha Riot, which occurred in September 1919 after a black man was arrested for raping a white woman. This incident was dramatized by playwright Max Sparber and produced by the Blue Barn Theatre in 1998 at the Douglas County Courthouse, the site of the riot.

The Enola Gay and Bockscar are two of 536 B-29s manufactured at the Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Factory in Omaha, Neb. near the end of World War II.

The Omaha Stockyards was the world's largest livestock processing center during the 1960's having taken over that distinction from Chicago's Union Stockyards in the late 1950s. As improved truck and boxcar refrigeration capabilities encouraged the slaughtering process to move closer to feedlots, all centralized stockyard activity declined and the Omaha Stockyard were closed in 1999.

The Omaha Tornado of 1975 is another grim day in Omaha's past. An F4 tornado ripped through neighborhoods along South 72nd Street on May 6, 1975, killing 3 and injuring 133. In terms of damage, it was the costliest tornado in American history to that date, with damage estimates between $250 million and $500 million.

U.S. President Gerald Ford was born in Omaha. However, he only spent his early childhood there; after his father died, his mother remarried a man from Grand Rapids, Michigan and grew up there. Omaha was also the birthplace of Malcolm X, but his family moved to Milwaukee when he was one year old.

Omaha Beach is not in Omaha, but was an Allied WWII code name for a beach in Normandy.

Arts, culture and attractions

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Joslyn Art Museum's tiled Fountain Court

Omaha is home to the Omaha Community Playhouse (, one of the most famous and best-endowed community theaters in the United States, and to Girls and Boys Town (; its Henry Doorly Zoo ( is widely considered one of the premier zoos in the world. The Blue Barn Theatre, a nationally famous semi-professional company that specializes in the works of contemporary playwrights, was founded in 1989 by a group of recent graduates from Purchase College.

A portion of Omaha's renovated downtown area is known as the Old Market. It is home to a number of shops, restaurants, bars and art galleries. There one may find uneven brick roads, horse drawn carriages, and street performers.

Major music groups either located in or originally from Omaha include the Omaha Symphony (, Opera Omaha (, Mannheim Steamroller (, Bright Eyes, and 311. The late indie-folk singer/songwriter Elliott Smith was also born in Omaha. The Joslyn Art Museum has significant art collections, particularly of Native American art and art works relating to the early European exploration of western North America.

Between the zoo and the Old Market lies Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha's Botanical Center ( Lauritzen Gardens is an urban oasis of beauty and tranquility. This 100-acre botanical garden features 13 outdoor areas, including a rose garden, herb garden, childrens garden and an arboretum. It also includes an indoor floral display hall, educational programs for children and adults, annual festivals, a caf, and a gift shop. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Omaha is now home to the AHL franchise, the Omaha Flames, farm team to the Calgary Flames. This franchise was previously located in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Omaha is also best known for the NCAA Division 1 College World Series, held every year at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium. The CWS has been held in Omaha every year since the first College World Series.

Omaha continues to earn mention in many popular songs: see "Songs about Omaha" below. An increasing number of movies about Omaha have also been made.


Radio Stations



Television Stations



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At 193 m (634 ft) and 45 floors, One First National Center is the tallest building between Minneapolis and Denver.

Although Nebraska's economy is still primarily based on agriculture, Omaha's economy today has diversified to become a national leader in several industries, including banking, insurance, telecommunications, and transportation; Omaha's economy has grown dramatically since the early 1990s.

Omaha is the home of the headquarters of a number of major corporations, including:


The Omaha metropolitan area is home to Offutt Air Force Base (Offutt AFB) which is located just south of Omaha in the city of Bellevue. During the Cold War, Strategic Air Command (SAC) headquarters was located at Offutt. The successor to SAC, the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) is now also headquartered at Offutt. The base is controlled by the 55th Wing and hosts several tenant units including Air Force Weather Agency, and the United States Air Force Heartland of America Band.

On May 2, 2005, the Omaha World Herald reported that the economic impact of base upon the local community amounted to approximately $2 billion annually.


Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium is home to the Omaha Royals minor-league baseball team (the AAA affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and hosts the annual NCAA College World Series tournament in mid-June.

The Omaha Beef Arena Football team is also gaining in popularity.

The two major hockey teams in town are the Omaha Lancers playing in the USHL, and the UNO Mavericks, an NCAA Division I team playing at the brand new, state-of-the-art Qwest Center. In January 2005, the AHL affilate of the Calgary Flames announced plans to relocate to Omaha. The team will be called the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights and will play their home games at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.

In April 2005, the American Basketball Association announced a new Council Bluffs/Omaha team, called the River City Ballers. News Release (

Omaha Venues


School Districts

Colleges and Universities

  • University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO)
  • Creighton University
  • Bellevue University (
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing
  • Metropolitan Community College
  • Grace University
  • College of Saint Mary
  • Devry University
  • Nebraska Methodist College
  • Nebraska Indian Community College
  • Nebraska Wesleyan University
  • Vatterott College

Law and Government

Law Enforcement Agencies in the Metropolitan Area

  • Omaha Police Department
  • Council Bluffs Police Department
  • Nebraska State Patrol, Troop A
  • Omaha FBI Branch, BATF, and DEA
  • Bellevue Police Department
  • Papillion Police Department
  • La Vista Police Department
  • Ralston Police Department
  • Missouri Valley Police Department
  • Blair Police Department
  • Union Pacific Police Department (Railroad Police)
  • Douglas County Sheriff's Department
  • Sarpy County Sheriff's Department
  • Washington County Sheriff's Department
  • Pottowatamie County Sheriff's Department


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Omaha's Location

Omaha is located at 41°15'38" North, 96°0'47" West (41.260482, -96.012990)Template:GR.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 307.9 km² (118.9 mi²). 299.7 km² (115.7 mi²;) of it is land and 8.2 km² (3.2 mi²;) of it is water. The total area is 2.67% water.

Metropolitan Area

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Omaha's Skyline
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Satellite photo showing Omaha and Council Bluffs, Iowa

The Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area (population 829,133; 52nd largest in the United States) consists of eight counties in two states. In descending order of population, they are:

Three counties -- Harrison, Mills, and Saunders -- were added to the Omaha metropolitan area in 2003 when the Office of Management and Budget published revised definitions of U. S. metropolitan areas.

The Omaha-Council Bluffs-Fremont Combined Statistical Area is comprised of the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Fremont Micropolitan Statistical Area; it has a population of 829,133 (2004 Census).

Population through the years

  • 1900: 102,555
  • 1980: 314,255
  • 1990: 342,862
  • 2000: 390,007
  • 2003: 404,267

Neighborhoods and Suburbs

  • Bellevue, the oldest settlement in Nebraska and the state's third largest city, is just south of Omaha in eastern Sarpy County.
  • Benson is a neighborhood of north-central Omaha near 60th and Maple Streets; it was annexed in 1917.
  • Boys Town is an incorporated village near 132nd and Dodge Streets and is home to the famous institution of the same name.
  • Chalco is an unincorporated residential area southwest of Omaha in northern Sarpy County.
  • Dundee is an increasingly trendy neighborhood in central Omaha near 50th and Dodge Streets. Originally a separate city, Dundee was annexed by Omaha in 1915, but this annexation was fought until 1917.
  • Elkhorn is a fast-growing, residential suburb west of Omaha in Douglas County. On March 8, 2005, Omaha annexed Elkhorn, however this annexation has been halted for the present time by court order until lawsuits by Omaha and Elkhorn are resolved.
  • Florence is a historic neighborhood in north Omaha. The original Mormon settlement in Florence (ca. 1846) predates the city of Omaha; it was annexed in 1917.
  • La Vista is a residential suburb south of Omaha in north-central Sarpy County.
  • Millard is a broad area of southwest Omaha; originally a separate city, Omaha annexed it in 1971. The original town site is near 132nd and Q Streets. The Millard school district is separate from that of Omaha.
  • North Omaha is a predominantly African-American neighborhood just north of downtown Omaha.
  • Papillion is a suburb south of Omaha and immediately south of La Vista. It is the county seat of Sarpy County.
  • Ralston is a residential suburb in south-central Douglas County roughly bounded by 72nd, 84th, L, and Harrison Streets. It is surrounded by Omaha on three sides.
  • South Omaha is a working-class neighborhood south of downtown Omaha, originally settled by immigrants from central, eastern, and southern Europe. Once a separate city, it was annexed in 1915. Today its population is predominantly Hispanic.


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Omaha Interstate I-80 West

Omaha's Eppley Airfield serves much of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. Eppley is situated near Carter Lake, which is part of Iowa and is the only Iowa town west of the Missouri River. Carter Lake was cut off by the Missouri River in 1877.

The primary mode of transportation in Omaha is by car, with I-80, I-480, I-680, I-29, and U.S. Highway 75 (JFK Freeway) providing freeway service in the metropolitan area. There is a new freeway in west Omaha some parts are still under construction. There will be an area where it is double-decker when it is finished. U.S. Highway 6 (West Dodge Expessway) will connect Elkhorn and west Omaha Neighborhoods to I-680.

Metro Area Transit runs a number of bus routes within the city.


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Eppley Airfield


Omaha was chosen as the starting point for the Union Pacific Railroad, the eastern portion of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States. By the middle of the 20th Century, Omaha was served by the following railroads: Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific (CRIP), Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (CBQ); Chicago Great Western (CGW); Illinois Central (IC); Chicago & Northwestern (CNW); Wabash (WAB); Chicago, St Paul & Pacific (The Milwaukee Road) (CMStP&P); Chicago, St Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha; Missouri Pacific (MP); and Union Pacific (UP). Today, after the reorganization of the rail industry, only the Union Pacific, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), and Illinois Central (IC) are left, although Omaha remains a major rail center. The Union Pacific has corporate headquarters in Omaha. Amtrak provides daily passenger service on the California Zephyr, which runs between Chicago and San Francisco via Denver.


Famous people from Omaha


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 390,007 people, 156,738 households, and 94,983 families residing within city limits. The population density is 1,301.5/km² (3,370.7/mi²). There are 165,731 housing units at an average density of 553.1/km² (1,432.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 78.39% White, 13.31% African American, 0.67% Native American, 1.74% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 3.91% from other races, and 1.92% from two or more races. 7.54% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 156,738 households out of which 30.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.8% are married couples living together, 13.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 39.4% are non-families. 31.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.4% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.42 and the average family size is 3.10.

In the city the average age of the population is diverse with 25.6% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 95.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 92.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $40,006, and the median income for a family is $50,821. Males have a median income of $34,301 versus $26,652 for females. The per capita income for the city is $21,756. 11.3% of the population and 7.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 15.6% of those under the age of 18 and 7.4% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

As of the 2003 Current Population Survey, there are 373,815 people, 154,879 households, and 92,903 families residing within the city limits. The 2004-2005 Statistical Abstract of the United States lists the total estimated population for the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area as 793,000 (source: 2004-2005 Statistical Abstract of the United States, Appendix II (

Songs About Omaha

Interestingly, a number of songs exist about or referring to Omaha. A list follows of songs about Omaha:

Songs that mention Omaha include

External links


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da:Omaha de:Omaha eo:Omaha ja:オマハ pt:Omaha (Nebraska) sv:Omaha, Nebraska


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