On the norther half of US Highway 281 is Nebraska. From east to west on the USA map, some say this is "Where the West Begins", a former Nebraska tourism slogan. The state claims to have more miles of river than any other. Is a leading farming and ranching state. An important producer of beef, pork, corn, (the "Cornhusker State") and soybeans.
Eighty-nine percent of the cities in Nebraska have fewer than 3,000 people. Nebraska shares this characteristic with five other Midwest and Southern states (Kansas, Oklahoma, North and South Dakota, and Iowa). Hundreds of towns have a population of fewer than 1,000.
The two largest communities we travel through on US Highway 281 are Hastings and Grand Island. Grand Island is a city of approximately 50,000 residents. Home to the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center (NLETC) which is the sole agency responsible for training law enforcement officers throughout the state. Grand Island has been given the All-American City Award three times (1955, 1967, and 1981-82) by the National Civic League.
Hastings is a city in and the county seat of Adams County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 24,064 at the 2000 census. It is known as the town where Kool-Aid was invented by Edwin Perkins in 1927, and celebrates that event with Kool-Aid Days the second weekend of every August. On June, 24 of 2007 Hastings won Yahoo's Greenest City in America competition. The Jacob Fisher Rainbow Fountain is the largest water fountain between Chicago and Denver and is located in the Highland Park of Hastings, NE. The fountain was considered a "sign of hope" for the town during the Great Depression and dust bowl.
The City of Lincoln is the Capital City and the home of the University of Nebraska. Nebraska Huskers football influences many of state's residents. On a sell out football home game day, Memorial Stadium, Lincoln with a capacity of 85,500 becomes the state's 3rd Largest city.
Nebraska is split into two time zones. The Central Time zone comprises the eastern half of the state, while the western half observes Mountain Time. Three rivers cross the state from west to east. The Platte River runs through the heart, the Niobrara River flows through the northern part of the state's region, and the Republican River traverses through the southern part of the state.
Located in the heart of America, Nebraska is famed for endless fields of corn, oats and wheat, huge cattle raising operations, idyllic small towns and farms, and of course, the legendary football teams from the University of Nebraska.
The face of Nebraska changed forever when the Lewis and Clark expedition explored this land as it wound its way up the Missouri River on their epic journey across middle-America to the Pacific Northwest. Nebraska became a US territory in 1854, and in 1867, it became the 37th U.S. State. Nebraska's seemingly endless acres of fertile lands and wide-open spaces, and the Homestead Act of 1862.
The state nickname used to be the "Tree Planter's State", but was changed in 1945 to the "Cornhusker State". It is illegal to go whale fishing in Nebraska. Arbor Day was started in Nebraska City in 1872 by Sterling Morton to encourage tree planting.
Johnny Carson grew up in Norfolk, Nebraska. After graduating from high school and college in Nebraska, Carson served in the U.S. Navy. Carson started his career in 1950 at WOW radio and
television in Omaha. Carson soon hosted a morning television program called The Squirrel's Nest. One of his routines involved interviewing pigeons on the roof of the local Court House that would allegedly relate the political corruption they had seen.
An American television host and comedian, known as host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson for 30 years. Carson received six Emmy Awards including the Governor Award and a 1975 Peabody Award; he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1987. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992, and received Kennedy Center Honors in 1993.
Marlon Brando was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on April 3, 1924. From the outset the enigmatic Brando was a rebel, or seemed to be. He resented authority. He questioned everything. The family moved around, living also in Illinois and California. When as a boy Brando became a discipline problem, his father sent him to a military academy in Minnesota. “I love the wind!” Brando once observed. “When I die, I’m going to be part of it!”
Websites for the traveler of US Highway 281:
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 state claims to have more miles of river than any other.