The city of Lincoln is the capital of the Cornhusker State, Nebraska. Lincoln is located in the southeastern part of the state, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) southwest of Omaha. It lies in a shallow basin about 1,160 feet (355 meters) above sea level. Salt Creek and its tributaries thread through the basin. Lincoln serves as a center for educational, cultural, and religious institutions. The city also developed as the trade center for a wide agricultural area.
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In the city are the buildings that house the various departments of the city, county, and state governments, the state mental and orthopedic hospitals, and the state penitentiary. Also located in Lincoln are a veterans’ hospital and the regional headquarters of the Veterans Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture.
The University of Nebraska was founded in Lincoln in 1869. The city is also the home of Nebraska Wesleyan University and Union College.
The State Capitol, designed by the architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue and completed in 1932, has a central tower that rises 400 feet (120 meters) from a massive two-story base and is considered a showpiece of American government architecture. `The Sower’, a statue symbolizing Nebraska’s farms, stands atop the tower. Museums include the State Museum of History, the University of Nebraska’s Christlieb Western Art Collection, and the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, designed by architect Philip Johnson. Pioneers Park includes a nature center. The Nebraska State Fair takes place in Lincoln each summer. Other cultural groups include a symphony orchestra, the Lincoln Community Playhouse, and the National Art Association.
Lincoln got its first rail connection in 1870 and by the late 1800s had 19 different rail routes. Railroads gave Lincoln its most important industry–railroad-car repair. Among the city’s manufactures are dairy and meat products, telephone equipment, agricultural machinery, cement, bricks, and drugs. There are also printing and publishing plants, and the city is the headquarters for more than 30 insurance companies.
Lincoln arose from a settlement established in 1856 to work salt deposits. In 1859 it was named Lancaster, the seat of Lancaster County. When Nebraska became a state in 1867, the town was renamed for President Abraham Lincoln and became a compromise choice for the state capital over Omaha and a site south of Salt Creek. William Jennings Bryan, long a leader in American politics, lived in Lincoln from 1887 to 1921. His home, Fairview, has been restored with original furnishings and memorabilia.
Between the years 1926 and 1930 Lincoln annexed the towns of Havelock, University Place, College View, and Belmont. The city has a mayor-council form of government. Lincoln owns its water and electric systems.