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5 Fun Facts About February 17 In Nebraska History

---Learn Every Day: NE Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history ne To: 618-270-4005---

1. In 1886, the University of Nebraska was officially founded. Originally known as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the school is now part of the larger University of Nebraska system and is one of the state's largest educational institutions.

2. In 1839, Elizabeth "Libbie" Custer was born in Monroe, Michigan. She was the wife of General George Armstrong Custer, who famously died with his troops at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. Libbie visited Nebraska several times and wrote about her experiences in her book "Boots and Saddles".

3. The ferryboat Omaha was launched on February 17, 1890. This steam-powered vessel was the first ferry built to operate exclusively on the Missouri River between Nebraska and Iowa. The Omaha ferried passengers and cargo until 1927, when it was retired and scrapped.

4. The Nebraska State Capitol building is often called the "Tower of the Plains", and it was completed on February 17, 1932. This impressive structure is the tallest building in Lincoln and was designed by architect Bertram Goodhue. The capitol houses the offices of the governor and state legislators, as well as important historical exhibits.

5. In 1862, the very first homestead claim was filed in Nebraska. The Homestead Act of 1862 allowed any person over the age of 21 to claim up to 160 acres of land for free if they agreed to live on and cultivate the land for at least five years. This act played a significant role in the settlement of the Great Plains and the expansion of agriculture in Nebraska.
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