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5 Fun Facts About February 21 In Nebraska History

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

1. On February 21, 1874, the first state capitol building in Lincoln, Nebraska was destroyed by fire. The fire started in a basement boiler room and quickly spread throughout the wooden structure, resulting in the loss of all but one wing of the building.

2. In 1922, February 21 was declared "Sir Walter Raleigh Day" in Nebraska, in honor of the English statesman and explorer who is credited with popularizing tobacco in Europe. The day was marked by the distribution of free tobacco samples and the smoking of pipes in public places.

3. On February 21, 1929, Charles Starkweather, the infamous serial killer who murdered eleven people in a killing spree across Nebraska and Wyoming in 1957, was born in Lincoln. Starkweather was executed by electric chair in 1959.

4. In 1960, the Nebraska State Legislature passed a law designating the Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) as the official state bird of Nebraska. The law was signed by Governor Ralph G. Brooks on February 21 of that year.

5. On February 21, 1995, Nebraska became the first state in the United States to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, and credit. The bill was signed into law by Governor Ben Nelson and went into effect later that year.
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