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The largest city in area in the United States is Juneau, Alaska. It covers 3,248 square miles, yet the city population is fewer than 30,000.

The Space Needle, built in 1961 in Seattle, Washington is the first revolving restaurant.
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City History

Since the 1600s, the Omaha, Pawnee, Otoe, the Missouri, the Ponca and Ioway all variously occupied the land that became Omaha. The word "Omaha" means "those going against the current." The Lewis and Clark Expedition passed by the riverbanks that would later become the city of Omaha in 1804, and met with the Otoe on Council Bluff at a point north of present-day Omaha. That same area was settled by Fort Lisa, Fort Atkinson and Cabanne's Trading Post. The Mormons also built a town called Cutler's Park in the area in 1846.

Before it was legal to claim land in Indian Country, William D. Brown was operating the Lone Tree Ferry to bring settlers from Council Bluffs to the area. Brown is generally credited as having the first vision for the city of Omaha. The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 was preceded by the staking out of claims around the area that was to become Omaha by residents from neighboring Iowa. With the founding of the city on July 4, 1854, the Omaha Claim Club was formed to provide vigilante justice for claim jumpers and others who infringed on the land of many of the city's founding fathers.

During the late 1800s and early 1900s there were a variety of ethnic and immigrant neighborhoods in the city, including Little Italy and Little Bohemia. At the time, gambling, drinking and prostitution were widespread and controlled by Omaha's political boss, Tom Dennison. His reign lasted for more than 30 years, ending shortly before his death at the age of 75. In 1898 the city played host to the Trans-Mississippi Exposition, a celebration of agricultural and industrial growth throughout the Midwest. More than 2,000,000 visitors attended the event.

Most of Omaha's pioneers and founding figures are buried alongside soldiers from Fort Omaha and early European immigrant and African Americans in Prospect Hill Cemetery. There are several other historical cemeteries in Omaha, as well. From the second generation of Omaha's leadership throughout today, many notable and average Omahans are buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in far North Omaha.

The history of Omaha led to the nickname "Gate City" because of Omaha's centrality in the nation and access to the gold fields of Colorado.

Omaha has a rich cultural background. Cultural highlights include the Joslyn Art Museum, the Durham Western Heritage Museum, the Holland Performing Arts Center, and the Omaha Community Playhouse. The city boasts headquarters for such companies as Berkshire Hathaway and Conagra, and is listed as a top 10 high tech haven by Newsweek in 2001. Music in Omaha has always been important to the city, with North Omaha's music scene being historically important and in modern times, the "Omaha Sound" defining an important trend across the nation. The city's historical and cultural attractions have been noted by numerous national newspapers, including the Boston Globe and the New York Times.

Historic Figures

Tom Dennison (1858-1934)



Tom Dennison (1858-1934)
Tom Dennison, aka The Old Grey Wolf was the early 20th century political boss of Omaha, Nebraska. A politically-savvy, culturally astute gambler, Dennison was in charge of the city's wide crime rings, including prostitution, gambling and bootlegging in the 1920s. Dennison is credited with electing "Cowboy" James Dahlman mayor of Omaha eight times and when losing an election, inciting the Omaha Race Riot of 1919 in retribution against the candidate who won.

September 20, 2017

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