Nebraska City, Nebraska

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Nebraska City is a city in Otoe County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 7,228 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Otoe County.[3] Nebraska City is home of Arbor Day, the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Center (which focuses on the natural history achievements of the expedition), and the Mayhew Cabin, which is Nebraska's only site on the National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program.

The Nebraska State Legislature has credited Nebraska City as being the oldest incorporated city in the state, as it was the first approved by a special act of the Nebraska Territorial Legislature in 1855.[4]



Early exploration was reported in 1804 by Lewis and Clark as they journeyed west along the Missouri River. Nebraska City was the original site of Old Fort Kearny, a military post used by the government in 1846. It was abandoned several years later and relocated to central Nebraska, now south of present day Kearney, Nebraska.

Shortly after the post was vacated, John Boulware developed an important river-crossing and ferry service from Iowa across to present day Nebraska City. He and his father grew their business and built a ferry house, the first residence in Nebraska City in 1852 or 1853. Slaves were first bought and sold in the 1850s in Nebraska City.[5]

In 1854 the Kansas-Nebraska Act allowed legal settlement in the regional area. Three townships were incorporated by settlers: Nebraska City and Kearney City were incorporated in 1855, and South Nebraska City was incorporated in 1856. During those years Nebraska City competed fiercely to become the Nebraska Territory capital. On December 31, 1857, these three town sites along with Prairie City joined, incorporating as present day Nebraska City. Before the Civil War, Nebraska City was also noted as having the Territory's largest population of slaves.

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