- For other uses, see Omaha (disambiguation).
Omaha is the largest city in Nebraska. It is the county seat of Douglas County. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 390,007. 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. Council Bluffs, Iowa lies directly across the Missouri River from Omaha. Together, the two cities form the core of the 60th-largest metropolitan area in the United States, with a population of 803,801 (2004 estimate) in 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.
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 1950ís. 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
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.
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.
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 continues to earn mention in many popular songs: see "Songs about Omaha" below. An increasing number of movies about Omaha have also been made.
- 590 KOMJ , also known as MAJIC (sic) 590, features oldies music from pop to jazz, "Rainy Days and Mondays" by the Carpenters to "Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffett.
- 660 KCRO , "The Truth," gives Christian radio, including talk shows.
- 1020 KOIL , "Country 1020," is advertised as "Your Brand of Country," and plays classic country music.
- 1110 KFAB (Clear Channel affiliate) proudly broadcasts 50KW worth of talk radio every day, slight conservative slant, though features liberal shows as well.
- 1290 KKAR a highly conservative news/talk station.
- 1180 KYDZ is the local "Radio Disney" station, playing youth pop music and featuring contests oriented toward youths.
- 1340 KHUB transmits news and talk radio from nearby Fremont, Nebraska.
- 1420 KHLP is K-HELP, "The Omaha Advise Station."
- 1490 KOSR gives Omaha and Fox sports radio.
- 1560 KLNG features a mix of Christian "country gospel."
- 88.1, KMLV , is a K-LOVE Christian radio network affiliate playing modern contemporary Christian music.
- 88.9, KVSS or "Spirit 88-9," is an Omaha all-Catholic radio station featuring talk programs, music, devotionals , and more.
- 89.7 the River plays contemporary alternative music and is based out of Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs.
- Classical 90.7 is a public classical-format station based out of UNO. It features Blank's Morning Blend , the highest-rated classical morning drive-time show in the country.
- KIOS , 91.5, NPR, via Omaha Public Schools.
- Z-92 , 92.3, is home of the famously coarse radio jockeys Todd-n-Tyler and plays rock music.
- 93.3, KHUS , "The Dam," plays American country music.
- KQCH , "Channel 94.1," plays popular music. Formerly country station WOW-FM.
- KEFM , 96.1, plays adult contemporary music.
- KBBX , 97.7, is the first Spanish-language station on the FM dial in Nebraska. Was briefly a smooth jazz station in the 1990s.
- KQKQ , 98.5, "Q98," features modern popular music. Formerly legendary top 40 station "Sweet 98."
- KGOR , 99.9, plays oldies music, primarily from the 1960s and 1970s.
- 100.7, KGBI , "The BRIDGE" proclaims it's "the station that cares about the whole family."
- KLTQ , "Lite Rock 101.9," plays adult contemporary music; from 1995 to 1998 played alternative rock as "101.9 the Edge"; was a rock station based in Lincoln until 1992.
- KXKT , 103.7, "The Kat," plays country music.
- KSRZ , "Star 104.5," "The Best Music from the 80's, 90's and today"; formerly KESY.
- 105.5, KFMT , Gold 105.5: 60s, 70s, and 80s gold hits.
KKCD, "CD105.9," plays classic rock music.
- Retro 106.9 features 80's and early 90's music.
- Hot 107.7/97.3 features modern hip-hop and R&B music.
- Omaha World-Herald,is the primary local newspaper
The Reader is an independent weekly newspaper quickly gaining popularity
- Omaha Magazine
- Midlands Business Journal , local business newspaper
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, which was the location of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) headquarters during the Cold War and is the current home of the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM).
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 Omaha . In January 2005, the AHL affilate of the Calgary Flames announced plans to relocate to Omaha.
- Bellevue Public Schools
District 66, a school district contained entirely within Omaha's city limits; only high school is Westside
- Millard School District , serves the Millard area of southwest Omaha; its high schools are Millard North, Millard West, and Millard South
Omaha Public Schools, the primary city school district and Nebraska's largest school district; its high schools include Central, Benson, Burke, Bryan, North, Northwest, and South
- Papillion-La Vista Public Schools
- Ralston Public Schools , serves Ralston and parts of Omaha immediately surrounding Ralston; several grade schools, one middle school Ralston Middle School , and one high school, Ralston High School
- Omaha has a number of Catholic and parochial high schools, including Skutt , Gross , Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Omaha, and Creighton Preparatory School
Brownell-Talbot School, Omaha's only independent school, intended to provide a college preparatory education; offers all grades, including preschool and K-12; the state's oldest school, founded in 1863
Colleges and Universities
University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO)
- University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing
- Metropolitan Community College
- Grace University
- Bellevue University
- College of Saint Mary
- Devry University
- Nebraska Methodist College
- Nebraska Indian Community College
- Nebraska Wesleyan University
- Vatterott College
Law and government
Omaha is located at 41°15'38" North, 96°0'47" West (41.260482, -96.012990)1.
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.
The Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area (population 767,041; 60th 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 Areais comprised of the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Fremont Micropolitan Statistical Area ; it has a population of 803,201 (2000 Census).
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.
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. Metro Area Transit runs a number of bus routes within the city.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 390,007 people, 156,738 households, and 94,983 families residing in the city. 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.
Famous people from Omaha
Fred Astaire, dancer, actor
Adele Astaire, dancer, entertainer
Marlon Brando, actor
Warren Buffett, billionaire investor
Montgomery Clift, actor
Chip Davis, founder of Mannheim Steamroller
Henry Fonda, actor
Peter Fonda, actor
Gerald R. Ford, U.S. president
Bob Gibson, pro baseball hall of famer
Ahman Green, pro football player
William Jennings Bryan, politician/orator
Jaime King, actress, supermodel
Swoosie Kurtz, actress
Dorothy McGuire, actress
- The members of country-western band Mulberry Lane
Nick Nolte, actor
Conor Oberst, singer-songwriter of musical groups Bright Eyes and Desaparecidos
Alexander Payne, screenwriter/director
- J. Joseph Ricketts , billionaire
Gale Sayers, pro football hall of famer
- Walter Scott, Jr. , billionaire
Elliott Smith, singer/songwriter
Nicholas Sparks, author
- Johnny Rodgers - 1972 Heisman Trophy Winner
Eric Crouch - 2001 Heisman Trophy Winner
- The members of rapcore band 311
Gabrielle Union, actress
Paul Williams, singer-songwriter, actor
Roger Williams, famous pianist
Malcolm X, civil rights activist
Paula Zahn, news personality
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