- For other uses, see Omaha (disambiguation).
|County||Douglas County, Nebraska|
1,290.6 km² (498.3 mi²)
75.7 km² (29.2 mi²) 5.86%
- Total (2003)
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6|
|City of Omaha Official Website|
Omaha is the largest city in Nebraska. It is the county seat of Douglas County6. 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. 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 (2005 estimate) in residing in eight counties. As of 2004 the metropolitan area has reach 829,133. Which whould make it 52nd-largest metropolitan area in the United States.
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.
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
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 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) broadcasts 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, "U.S. 93.3," plays American country music.
- 93.7, Mav Radio, "Mav Radio 93.7," College Radio Station from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Has an online streaming feed at http://www.mavradio.org
- KQCH, "Channel 94.1," plays popular music, mostly rap. 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.
- KMTV 3 — CBS affiliate
- WOWT 6 — NBC affiliate
- KETV 7 — ABC affiliate
- KXVO 15 — carries WB and Pax TV programming
- KYNE 26 — PBS affiliate; part of the Nebraska ETV Network
- KBIN 32 — PBS affiliate; part of the Iowa Public Television network; licensed to Council Bluffs
- KPTM 42 — Fox affiliate
- 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
- Omaha Star historic black-owned newspaper in Omaha
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:
- Berkshire Hathaway — Fortune 500
- ConAgra Foods, Inc. — Fortune 500
- First National Bank of Omaha
- Mutual of Omaha — Fortune 500
- Omaha Steaks
- Peter Kiewit and Sons, Inc. Construction Co — Fortune 500
- Union Pacific Railroad — Fortune 500
- Werner Enterprises — Fortune 500
- Woodmen of the World
- West Corporation
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.
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.
In April 2005, the American Basketball Association announced a new Council Bluffs/Omaha team, called the River City Ballers. News Release
- 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, Creighton Preparatory School, and Marian
- 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)
- Creighton University
- 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
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
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.
- Douglas County, Nebraska
- Sarpy County, Nebraska
- Pottawattamie County, Iowa
- Cass County, Nebraska
- Saunders County, Nebraska
- Washington County, Nebraska
- Harrison County, Iowa
- Mills County, Iowa
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).
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. 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.
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
- Allison Rizzuto, World's Most Beautiful Woman, singer, writer
- 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
As of the census2 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:
- 311 – Omaha Stylee
- Chicksaw Mudd Puppies – Omaha (Sharpless)
- Counting Crows – Omaha
- Grand Funk Railroad – We're an American Band (about a wild night in an Omaha hotel room)
- Groucho Marx – Omaha, Nebraska
- Desaparecidos – Greater Omaha
- Johnny Otis – Omaha Flash
- Sexual Kickball – I'm Drunk Again
- The Good Life – Leaving Omaha
- They Might Be Giants – Sokol Auditorium
- Waylon Jennings – Omaha
- Stan Freberg – Omaha! (Originally a commercial for the Butternut Coffee Co.)
- Moby Grape – Omaha (Their biggest hit, the song lyrics have nothing to do with Omaha, but songwriter Skip Spence named it "Omaha" on the spur of the moment.)
- Songs that mention Omaha include
- I'm a Bad, Bad Man from Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun
- Bob Seger – Turn the Page (also covered by Metallica)
- Mindy McCready – Maybe, Maybe Not
- Bright Eyes – Theme To Pinata
- Rilo Kiley – The Execution Of All Things
- Roger Miller – Kansas City Star
- C.W. McCall – Convoy
- John Prine – Hello in There (also covered by Bette Midler, others)
- Charlie Daniels – Uneasy Rider
- Omaha Symphony Musicians' Org.
- Omaha Chamber Music Society
- City of Omaha Official Website
- Omaha World-Herald
- Maps and aerial photos