Clay Center, Nebraska

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Clay Center is a city in and the county seat of Clay County, Nebraska, United States.[3] It is part of the Hastings, Nebraska Micropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 861 at the 2000 census.



Clay Center is located at 40°31′20″N 98°3′18″W / 40.52222°N 98.055°W / 40.52222; -98.055 (40.522291, -98.055076)[4].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.7 square miles (1.8 km²), all of it land.


Clay Center was laid out in the summer of 1879. An election on November 4, 1879, confirmed Clay Center as the location for the Clay County seat following months of heated competition with rivals Sutton and Harvard. W. D. Young erected the first building on the site, a frame structure, which was used as the temporary courthouse. In February 1887 Clay Center became an incorporated village.

Industrial development began in 1903 when M. M. Johnson built a factory to manufacture "Old Trusty" poultry incubators and brooders that were sold nationwide. The factory provided employment for hundreds of local citizens. The Johnson Company established radio station KMMJ in 1925 to promote its products, and the station made Clay Center a well-known and respected name in farm homes throughout the Midwest.

Clay Center experienced dramatic change in 1942 when a Naval Ammunition Depot was built just west of town to produce bombs and shells during World War II. This property was later transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has been designated by Congress as the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 861 people, 343 households, and 243 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,215.3 people per square mile (468.2/km²). There were 373 housing units at an average density of 526.5/sq mi (202.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.17% White, 0.58% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.93% Asian, 1.16% from other races, and 0.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.02% of the population.

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