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Grand Island, Nebraska
—  City  —
Hall County Courthouse in Grand Island
Location of Grand Island, Nebraska
Coordinates: 40°55′20″N 98°21′29″W / 40.92222°N 98.35806°W / 40.92222; -98.35806Coordinates: 40°55′20″N 98°21′29″W / 40.92222°N 98.35806°W / 40.92222; -98.35806
Country United States
State Nebraska
County Hall
 - Mayor Margaret Hornady
 - City Administrator Jeff Pederson
 - Total 21.6 sq mi (55.9 km2)
 - Land 21.5 sq mi (55.6 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 1,860 ft (567 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 42,940
 Density 2,000.2/sq mi (772.3/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 68801-68803
Area code(s) 308
FIPS code 31-19595[1]
GNIS feature ID 0829622[2]

Grand Island is a city in and the county seat of Hall County, Nebraska, United States.[3] The population was 42,940 at the 2000 census, with an estimated 49,802 in July, 2009.

Grand Island is home to the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center (NLETC) which is the sole agency responsible for training law enforcement officers throughout the state, as well as the home of the Southern Power District serving southern Nebraska.

Grand Island has been given the All-American City Award three times (1955, 1967, and 1981-82) by the National Civic League.

Grand Island is the principal city of the Grand Island Micropolitan Statistical Area, which consists of Hall, Merrick, and Howard counties.


Geography and climate

Grand Island is located at 40°55′20″N 98°21′29″W / 40.922316°N 98.357996°W / 40.922316; -98.357996.[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 21.6 square miles (55.9 km2), of which, 21.5 square miles (55.6 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2) of it (0.60%) is water.

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 76 80 90 96 101 107 109 110 104 96 82 76
Norm High °F 32.6 38.6 49.5 61.9 71.9 83 87.1 84.8 76.9 64.6 46.8 35.3
Norm Low °F 12.2 17.7 27 37.8 49.3 59.1 64.4 62.3 51.8 39.3 25.9 15.9
Rec Low °F -28 -19 -21 7 23 38 42 40 23 9 -11 -26
Precip (in) 0.54 0.68 2.04 2.61 4.07 3.72 3.14 3.08 2.43 1.51 1.41 0.66
Source: [2]


In 1857, thirty-five German settlers left Davenport, Iowa, and headed west to Nebraska to start a new settlement on an island known by French traders as La Grande Isle.[citation needed] Grand Island, which is formed by the Wood River and the North Platte River, is the largest inland island in the world[citation needed]. The settlers located here in part because the railroad, which needed to refuel every 150 miles, would stop. The settlers reached their destination on July 4, 1857, and by September had built housing using local timber.

Over the next 9 years, the settlers had to overcome many hardships, including blizzards and conflicts with Native Americans. A fire set by a prospector who hated Germans destroyed the first settlement in 1859.[5]

In 1872 the city was incorporated. In 1886, construction of the Union Pacific Railroad reached the area, bringing increased trade and business. The settlement was moved north of the Platte River, which is the present location of the town.[5] While no longer an island, they kept the name. Population and industry began to grow.

In about 1890, sugar beets were introduced as a crop in Nebraska. The first sugar beet processing factory in the United States was built in the southwest part of Grand Island.[6]

1980 tornadoes

On June 3, 1980, Grand Island was hit by a massive supercell storm. Through the course of the evening, the city was ravaged by seven tornadoes, the worst of which was rated F4 on the Fujita Scale. The hardest hit area of town was the South Locust business district. There were five deaths as a result of the tornadoes.

Tornado Hill is a local landmark created as a direct result of the tornadoes. Debris that could not be recycled were burnt near Fonner Park and buried within Ryder Park, on the west end of town. The base of the hill was a hole 6-8 feet deep and nearly 200 feet across, and the hill is 40 feet high. It is used for sledding in this naturally flat area.[7]

A book, Night of the Twisters (1984), by Ivy Ruckman, and movie (1996) were based on this event.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1880 2,963
1890 7,536 154.3%
1900 7,554 0.2%
1910 10,326 36.7%
1920 13,947 35.1%
1930 18,041 29.4%
1940 19,130 6.0%
1950 22,682 18.6%
1960 25,742 13.5%
1970 32,358 25.7%
1980 33,180 2.5%
1990 39,386 18.7%
2000 42,940 9.0%
Est. 2009 49,802 16.0%

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 42,940 people, 16,426 households, and 11,038 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,000.2 people per square mile (772.2/km2). There were 17,421 housing units at an average density of 811.5/sq mi (313.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 86.72% White, 0.42% African American, 0.33% Native American, 1.31% Asian, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 9.64% from other races, and 1.42% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.94% of the population.

There were 16,426 households out of which 34.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.0% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families. 27.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.0% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,044, and the median income for a family was $43,197. Males had a median income of $28,925 versus $20,521 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,071. About 9.9% of families and 12.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.7% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those age 65 or over.

State Fair

In 2010 Grand Island became the home of the Nebraska State Fair. [8]


Interstate 80 is located 4 miles south of the city.

Central Nebraska Regional Airport is located in Grand Island. On September 4, 2008, Allegiant Air began nonstop service from Grand Island to Las Vegas, Nevada.

Grand Island used to have a trolley that ran just east of the Grand Island College (now the location of Grand Island Senior High). The trolley ran from Capital Ave and Lafayette down to Waugh street. It turned east on Waugh and ran to Grand Island Avenue. It then turned south on Grand Island Avenue and ran where the median is now located. The trolley line terminated at the Grand Island and 13th street intersection. The trolley line was used as a "school bus" for college students to get to the former college.

Grand Island in the news

On December 12, 2006 the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E) staged a coordinated predawn raid at the Swift and Co. meat packing plant in Grand Island and at five other Swift plants in western states. They interviewed workers and took away suspected illegals in number.[9][10]

A February 16, 1952 issue of Look Magazine listed Grand Island as one of 26 cities that tolerated sinful behavior.[11] After this issue, Grand Island took measures to clean up its image.


Sites of interest

Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, Grand Island, Nebraska. Building designed by Edward Durell Stone.
  • Historic Masonic Temple Building, built in 1925.
  • Plum Street Station, restored train depot.
  • The Yancy, an old hotel now converted into apartments
  • Island Oasis Water Park
  • Fonner Park
  • Heartland Events Center

School districts

High schools

Notable people


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ a b c Bain, David Haward (2004). The Old Iron Road: An Epic of Rails, Roads, and the Urge to Go West. New York City, New York: Penguin Books. pp. 60–2. ISBN 0143035266. 
  6. ^ History.
  7. ^ [1]. The Real Night of the Twisters
  8. ^ "Nebraska State Fair". Nebraska State Fair Park. Retrieved 2 October 2009. 
  9. ^ "U.S. Raids 6 Meat Plants in ID Case", article New York Times by Julia Preston, December 13, 2006
  10. ^ FindLaw for Legal Professionals - Case Law, Federal and State Resources, Forms, and Code
  11. ^ Article. Nebraska Law Association. Retrieved 9/23/06.

External links

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