Nebraska Facts
Nebraska Facts

25 Interesting Nebraska Facts

James Israelsen
By James Israelsen, Associate Writer
Published May 23, 2023
  • "Nebraska" is the Native Otoe word for the Platte River and means “flat water.”[11]
  • Nebraskans were the first to celebrate Arbor Day, in 1872. The citizens planted trees in an effort to beautify the state.[11]
  • Lifelong Nebraskan Clifton Hillegass created his Cliffs Notes® series while working for the Nebraska Book Company in the 1950s.[2]
  • Nebraska is the only state in the entire United States to have a unicameral legislature, meaning that legislation only has to be ratified by one body of elected officials to become law.[12]
  • Although Nebraska’s official state nickname is “The Cornhusker State,” state license plates issued between 1956 and 1965 said “The Beef State” instead, because of the state's many cattle ranches.[13]
  • Nebraska Chimney Rock
    The rock's unique shape made it a valuable landmark 
    for pioneers heading West
  • There was a minor controversy among Nebraskans when the US Mint featured Chimney Rock on their state quarter. Opponents argued that the landmark, a feature of the Oregon Trail, represented people passing through Nebraska rather than settling there.[12]
  • In 2020, over 100 bison on a feedlot in southern Nebraska escaped after stampeding. The herd managed to spread itself out across 140 square miles of the state before they were all recaptured.[15]
  • The recipe for runzas—yeast dough bread pockets filled with a hash of cabbage and ground beef—originated in Nebraska.[19]
  • Nebraska’s state capitol building was the first in America that wasn’t designed to look like the US Capitol in Washington, DC.[13]
  • Nebraska's capital city, Lancaster, was renamed "Lincoln" in 1869, in honor of Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated four years earlier.[7]
  • Nebraska's state motto is "Equality Before the Law."[3]
  • L. Ron Hubbard started life as a Nebraskan before becoming the founder of Scientology.[6]
  • Nebraska Carhenge
    An unusual way to dispose of old automobiles
  • "Carhenge," a popular tourist site in Alliance, Nebraska, was built to resemble England's Stonehenge, but it is made of cars instead of monolithic stones.[1]
  • Kool-Aid® is Nebraska's official state drink, in honor of the fact that it was invented there in 1927.[8]
  • The Ogallala Aquifer, a vast underground reservoir used by farmers in eight mid-Western states, is being rapidly depleted—except for the part of the reservoir lying under Nebraska, where it has either undergone little substantial change or has even risen in some places.[10][16]
  • The University of Nebraska State Museum has the world's tallest fossil Columbian mammoth skeleton on display, a 14-footer named Archie.[17]
  • In an annual survey about which state tourists most wanted to visit, the state of Nebraska came in at last place every year between 2014 and 2018.[4]
  • In Nebraska, some old laws that are still on the books include a prohibition against people with venereal diseases marrying, and permission for law enforcement to arrest a parent if their child burps in church.[18]
  • Marlon Brando Nebraska
    Brando became one of the most celebrated actors of his generation
  • American celebrities Marlon Brando, Henry Fonda, and Fred Astaire were all native Nebraskans.[11]
  • A 2003 record-setting storm in Aurora, Nebraska, delivered hailstones with a circumference of almost 19 inches.[7]
  • Bruce Springsteen's hit song "Nebraska" is about two real-life teens from Lincoln, Nebraska, who went on a 10-person killing spree in 1958.[5]
  • Up to 14,000 train cars pass through Nebraska's Bailey Yard daily. The eight-mile train yard is the largest in the world.[7]
  • In 2018, the Nebraska Tourism Commission joked about the lack of visitors with the slogan "Honestly, it's not for everyone."[4]
  • Nebraska's state animal is the white-tailed deer, the state bird is the meadowlark, and goldenrod is the state flower.[14]
  • Nebraska's largest crop is corn, and the state ranks third in the nation in corn production, after Iowa and Illinois.[9]
  • Quick Nebraska Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    Nebraska Infographic Thumbnail

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