Nebraska Fun Facts & Trivia

Chimney Rock, Nebraska on the Oregon Trail

Chimney Rock, Nebraska on the Oregon Trail by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

 

Buffalo Bill Cody, 1907

Buffalo Bill Cody, 1907

Buffalo Bill (William Cody) started his famous Wild West Show near his ranch in North Platte. The first rodeo was held in North Platte on July 4, 1882.

The area mistakenly called the “Great American Desert” by European explorers, is one of the top farming areas in the world.

It is illegal to go whale fishing in Nebraska.

Hay bales were used to build the only church in the U.S. made of this unusual building material.

Many Indian tribes native to the area were forced out by the U.S. government. At the same time, others were pushed into Nebraska.

Borsheims in Omaha has the largest jewelry store in the nation.

Elephant Hall, a museum in Lincoln, has the biggest collection of elephant skeletons in the world. The biggest mammoth fossils ever discovered were found in Lincoln County.

In Waterloo, barbers are forbidden from eating onions between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Arbor Day was started in Nebraska City in 1872 by Sterling Morton to encourage tree planting.

The westward journey of Meriweather Lewis and William Clark in 1804 took these explorers up the Missouri River. The Missouri River makes up the eastern border of Nebraska.

Kool-Aid was invented by Edwin Perkins in 1927 in Hastings. He changed his soft drink syrup, Fruit Smack, into a powder to make it easier to ship.

Valentine, a small town of about 3,000 people, gets many requests for cards postmarked from the town on February 14th.

Second Wind Ranch, near Comstock, has more water-pumping windmills (about 125) gathered together than any other place on Earth.

Sioux, Pawnee, Cheyenne, Missouri, Omaha and Ponca Indians were some of the first people to live in the area.

Twice-yearly migrations of millions of cranes, ducks, and geese turn the Platte River area into an amazing sight.

The Niobrara is one of the top canoeing rivers in the country. It has more than 90 waterfalls.

The Great Plains is a large, mostly flat area of grassland prairie in the center of the continent. Nebraska is a Great Plains State.

The Unicameral is the name of the only state legislature with only one branch. All other states have two branches, usually a senate and a house of representatives. The Unicameral is also different in that when candidates run for office, they do not run on a certain party’s ticket.

The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument

The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument

The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument grabs travelers’ attention near Kearney. Inside are exhibits about this area as the gateway to the West.

The High Plains Aquifer is a big underground layer of rocks and other materials that are filled with water. Most of this aquifer is beneath Nebraska, giving it more underground water than any other state.

Many ranches are giant-sized, covering more than 100,000 acres.

Marlon Brando was born in Omaha.

Nebraska Sand Hills

Nebraska Sand Hills

The Sand Hills are the biggest grass-covered sand dunes in the Western Hemisphere. They cover about one-fourth of the state. Only the Sahara and the Arabian deserts have bigger areas of sand.

The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha has the world’s biggest indoor rainforest exhibit.

Johnny Carson grew up in Norfolk.

The state nickname used to be the “Tree Planter’s State”, but was changed in 1945 to the “Cornhusker State”.

The Naval Ammunition Depot located in Hastings was the largest U.S. ammunition plant providing 40% of WWII’s ammunition.

The Union Pacific’s Bailey Yards, in North Platte, is the largest rail classification complex in the world.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln weight room is the largest in the country. It covers three-fourths of an acre

Chevyland USA near Elm Creek, Nebraska is the only museum dedicated to a single line of cars.

Union Pacific Railroad’s museum is headquartered in Nebraska.

Halsey National Forest

Halsey National Forest

The world’s largest hand-planted forest is Halsey National Forest near Thedford, Nebraska.

Red Cloud, Nebraska has been the subject of more books than any other town in literature.

Nebraska Furniture Mart, founded by Rose Blumkin is the largest furniture store in the nation in Omaha.

Cherry County in Nebraska is larger than the state of Connecticut.

The longest straight main street in the nation is “O” Street which stretches from Milford through Lincoln to Union.

Four historical trails crossed Nebraska including the Oregon, Lewis and Clark, Mormon, and Pony Express.

Grant County allegedly has more millionaires proportionally to its population than any other in the nation.

The Ole’s bar/restaurant in Paxton boasts a 1,300-pound polar bear?

Fred Astaire was born Fred Austerlitz’s in Omaha.

Nebraska is the birthplace of the Reuben sandwich.

Spam (canned meat) is produced in Fremont.

Mutual of Omaha Corporate headquarters is a public building built with 7 floors underground.

Nebraska’s state nickname used to be the “Tree Planter’s State”, but was changed in1945 to the “Cornhusker State.”

It is illegal in Nebraska for a mother to give her daughter a perm without a state license.

The Naval Ammunition Depot located in Hastings was the largest U.S. ammunition plant providing 40% of WWII’s ammunition.

Wayne Nebraska is well known for the biggest and best chicken show in the world.

South Bend, Nebraska serves more testicles than anywhere in the world at its ‘Testicle Festival’.

In Nebraska in 1986 for the first time, ever two women ran against each other for the governorship of a state.

Chief Red Cloud

Makh-pi-ah-lu-tah, Oglala Sioux Chief Red Cloud

Chief Red Cloud (1822-1909) was the chief of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) tribe that followed the buffalo across the Great Plains. He was the only Native American to win a big war against the U.S. He won important treaties protecting his people’s land and later became an important diplomat from the Lakota to the U.S. government. Unfortunately, the U.S. later broke many of their treaties. This proud warrior died on a reservation.

In Lehigh, it is against the law to sell doughnut holes.

Nebraska averages 39 tornadoes a year.

The only church with pews that switch from Catholic services at one end and Protestant services at the other end is in Keystone, Nebraska.

The first fort constructed west of the Missouri River was Fort Atkinson near Blair.

Fort Robinson was once a World War II German P.O.W. camp and is now a state park.

Garfield County Fairgrounds in Burwell is the only rodeo grounds listed on the National Register of Historical sites is located

Crazy Horse was killed at Fort Robinson.

Sneezing or burping is illegal during a church service in Omaha.

The world’s smallest police station is in Friend, Nebraska.

Between Northport and Ogallala on Highway 26, there is a shoe fence.  The fence line, which runs for miles and miles, is adorned with mounted upside down boots and shoes.

Charles Lindberg learned to fly in Lincoln.

Lincoln was once nicknamed Church City because of the number of churches in the town.

One of the busiest Interstate McDonald’s located in York.

Marlon Brando’s mother once gave Henry Fonda acting lessons at the Omaha Community Playhouse.

Gerald Ford was born in Nebraska.

The nation’s first Native American woman doctor lived in Nebraska.  Her name was Susanne LeFlesche Picotte.

Daniel Freeman claimed the nation’s first homestead near Beatrice.

Whittier Jr. High in Lincoln was the first junior high school in the nation.

A parent can be arrested if his child cannot hold back a burp during a church service.

By law, the owner of every hotel in Hastings, Nebraska, is required to provide each guest with a clean and pressed nightshirt. No couple, even if they are married, may sleep together in the nude. Nor may they have sex unless they are wearing one of these clean, white cotton nightshirts.

Carhenge near Alliance, Nebraska by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Carhenge near Alliance, Nebraska by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Just north of Alliance, Nebraska there is a place called Carhenge that replicates the historic English Stonehenge with 38 old automobiles placed to assume the same proportions.

The world’s largest hamburgers are made at Sioux Sundries in Harrison, Nebraska.

The 911 system of emergency communications, now used nationwide, was developed and first used in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Nebraska had 102 tornadoes in 1999.

The Hall brothers who started Hallmark cards were from Norfolk.

Linoma Beach Lighthouse

Linoma Beach Lighthouse

What is a lighthouse doing in Nebraska?  Nowhere near the ocean, a lighthouse stands beside the road in Ashland. The lighthouse, developed over 75 years ago graces the skyline of a 40-acre lake with a public beach, restaurant and RV Park.

Thurl Ravenscroft from Norfolk has been the voice of Tony the Tiger from Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Flakes for over 35 years?

It is illegal for bar owners to sell beer unless they are simultaneously brewing a kettle of soup.

The National Liar’s Hall of Fame is located in Dannebrog.

Sidney, Nebraska was the starting point of the Black Hills Gold Rush.

Dr. Harold Edgerton of Aurora, Nebraska is the inventor of the strobe light.

The largest porch swing in the world is located in Hebron, Nebraska and it can seat 25 adults.

Malcolm X, the famous civil rights leader was from Omaha.

The world’s only museums dedicated to Fur Trading are located at Fort Atkinson near Blair, Nebraska and in Chadron.

The largest Kolache (a Czechoslovakian pastry) was made in, Prague, Nebraska.

Chimney Rock, along the Oregon Trail, was the most mentioned landmark in pioneer diaries.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers have been to a record 27 consecutive bowl games and 27 consecutive winning seasons. The team has produced more Academic All-Americans than any other Division I school.

In Blue Hill, Nebraska, no female wearing a “hat that would scare a timid person” can be seen eating onions in public.

In Omaha, it is illegal for a man to be seen with a shaved chest.

The first modern-day serial killer, Charles Starkweather was from Nebraska and is buried at Lincoln’s Wyuka Cemetery

Kearney, Nebraska is located the geographically dead center of the U.S.-between Boston and San Francisco, each way is exactly 1733 miles on either side of Hwy 30.

 

Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated December 2020.

Also See: 

Nebraska – The Cornhusker State

Nebraska Photo Galleries

Offbeat Roadside Attractions, Trivia, & More

United States Trivia, Fun Facts & Firsts