|• Type||Mayor-council government|
|• Mayor||Stan Wirth|
|• Total||9.48 sq mi (24.55 km2)|
|• Land||9.39 sq mi (24.33 km2)|
|• Water||0.09 sq mi (0.22 km2)|
|Elevation||1,286 ft (392 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||1,308.95/sq mi (505.39/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0827241 |
Beatrice (//) is a city in and the county seat of Gage County, Nebraska. Its population was 12,459 at the 2010 census. It is located 40 miles (64 km) south of Lincoln on the Big Blue River. It is surrounded by agricultural country.
In 1857, the steamboat Hannibal, carrying 300 passengers up the Missouri River from St. Louis, Missouri to Nebraska City, Nebraska, ran aground near Kansas City, Missouri. While it was stranded, 35 of the passengers agreed to form the "Nebraska Association", under which name they would unite in seeking a townsite and establishing a settlement in the territory.
After reaching Nebraska City, the Association divided itself into two exploratory parties, one of which went directly westward and the other southwest. The latter party located the site of Beatrice, at the point where the DeRoin Trail crossed the Big Blue River, and the whole Association decided to settle there. The settlement was named after Julia Beatrice Kinney, the 17-year-old daughter of Judge John F. Kinney, a member of the Association.:120
The Territorial Legislature selected Beatrice as the county seat of Gage County in 1857. The decision was challenged by Blue Springs, but was confirmed by the Legislature in 1859. In 1864, the Legislature dissolved the original Clay County (not the current Clay County, Nebraska), dividing its land between Gage and Lancaster Counties. The addition of this ground in the north placed Beatrice near the center of the enlarged county, strengthening its claim to the county seat. It continues to hold that position today.
In 1862, the U.S. Congress passed the Homestead Act, which allowed settlers to claim 160 acres (65 ha) of government land for a nominal fee. The law went into effect on January 1, 1863. Just after midnight on that day, Daniel Freeman persuaded a clerk to open the local Land Office so that he could file a claim for a homestead located 4 miles (6 km) west of Beatrice. His is regarded as the first of the 417 applications filed that day.
The Big Blue River was both a help and a hindrance to the development of Beatrice. It provided the town with a water source, and produced ample power to operate the mills that were among the town's first industries. However, it represented a major obstacle to travelers on the Oregon Trail route; and floods frequently destroyed the dams and bridges in the area. Not until 1890 was a Big Blue bridge built in Beatrice that could survive for decades.
In 1871, the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad constructed a line from Lincoln, Nebraska to Beatrice. In 1879, the Union Pacific Railroad built a line joining Beatrice to Marysville, Kansas. By 1890, the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad had also run tracks through Beatrice.
The former international foods conglomerate, Beatrice Foods, (now a part of ConAgra Foods) was founded in Beatrice in 1894 as The Beatrice Creamery Company, by George Everett Haskell and William W. Bosworth.
Beatrice State Developmental Center
In 1885, the Nebraska legislature enacted legislation to establish the Institution for Feeble Minded Youth near Beatrice, subject to the city's donating a suitable parcel of land.:303 Beatrice donated 40 acres, located 2 miles (3 km) east of the city limits, and the first residents were admitted in 1887.
Over the following decades, the institution expanded greatly. By 1935, there were 1171 residents living on 519 acres (210 ha). The institution was largely self-supporting, operating a farm on which the residents did much of the work; in 1935, 346 acres (140 ha) were under cultivation.
In 1945, the institution was renamed the Beatrice State Home. Its resident population peaked at about 2300 in the late 1960s. From there it declined: new restrictions had been imposed on the use of unpaid labor by residents of institutions, and there was a national trend toward deinstitutionalization. In 1975, the Horacek v. Exon lawsuit was settled with a consent decree whereunder many of the residents of the Beatrice State Home were transferred to community-based mental health facilities. In that year, the institution's name was changed to the current Beatrice State Developmental Center.
A 2006 investigation by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services revealed a number of severe deficiencies at the Center; after two years of appeals, the Center lost its Medicaid certification in 2009.
Beatrice is located at  According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.11 square miles (23.59 km2), of which, 9.02 square miles (23.36 km2) is land and 0.09 square miles (0.23 km2) is water.(40.268449, -96.743192).
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 12,459 people, 5,509 households, and 3,296 families living in the city. The population density was 1,381.3 inhabitants per square mile (533.3/km2). There were 6,075 housing units at an average density of 673.5 per square mile (260.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.1% White, 0.5% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.7% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 2.2% of the population.
There were 5,509 households of which 27.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.9% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.2% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.82.
The median age in the city was 42.6 years. 22.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22% were from 25 to 44; 26.8% were from 45 to 64; and 20.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.8% male and 52.2% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,496 people, 5,395 households, and 3,301 families living in the city. The population density was 1,666.7 people per square mile (643.3/km²). There were 5,818 housing units at an average density of 776.0 per square mile (299.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.50% White, 0.34% African American, 0.45% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races, and 1.05% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 0.96% of the population.
There were 5,395 households out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% were non-families. 33.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.87.
In the city, the population was spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 21.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.7 males.
As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $33,735, and the median income for a family was $42,472. Males had a median income of $29,976 versus $21,303 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,816. About 7.0% of families and 9.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.0% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 65 or over.
- Beatrice Speedway
- Gage County Museum, housed in the 1906 Burlington Railroad Depot and operated by the Gage County Historical Society
- Homestead National Monument of America
- Homestead Trail
- Community Players Theatre
- George D. Baker (1868–1933), motion picture director of the silent film era
- The Beatrice Six, a group of people wrongly convicted of rape and murder in 1985, exonerated in 2009
- Eudora Stone Bumstead (1860–1892), poet, hymnwriter
- Clara Bewick Colby, author
- Gene L. Coon (1924–1973), screenwriter and television producer
- Jim Faulkner (1899-1962), baseball player
- John P. Fulton (1902-1966), special effects supervisor and cinematographer
- Jim Gillette glam metal rock musician and lead singer, most notably with Nitro
- Homestead Harmonizers chorus formed in 1988
- Peter Jansen (1852–1923), sheep rancher, Nebraska state representative and senator
- Weldon Kees (1914–1955), poet, critic, novelist, and short story writer
- Oliver Kirk (1884–1960), won two gold medals in boxing at the 1904 Summer Olympics
- Xavier Omon (b. 1985), NFL football player
- Algernon Paddock (1830-1897), U.S. Senator from Nebraska
- Pid Purdy (1904–1951), athlete who played both Major League Baseball and National league football
- Janet Shaw (1919-2001), film actress
- Robert Taylor (1911–1969), film and television actor
- Kevin Meyer, Lieutenant Governor of Alaska
- Dora V. Wheelock (1847–1923), temperance activist and writer
- Edward Wight Washburn (1881–1934), chemist
In popular culture
A popular story was circulated about a near-miss that occurred in Beatrice, when, at 7:25 pm on March 1, 1950, a church was destroyed by a natural gas explosion five minutes after the scheduled choir practice, but no one was injured because all fifteen members were late. Snopes.com identified this as a true event. It was covered in an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
- City of Beatrice website. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
- "2017 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jan 12, 2019.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved May 21, 2020.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Nebraska Pronunciation Guide. Archived 2010-03-12 at the Wayback Machine Associated Press. Archived 2010-03-10 at the Wayback Machine Archived 2010-03-12 at Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2010-03-06.
- Kay, John, Lonnie Dickson, Robert Kay and Katherine Fimple. "Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey: Reconnaissance Survey Final Report of Gage County, Nebraska". Nebraska State Historical Society. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- "Gage County". Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- Sanny, Mary Lou. "Beatrice—Gage County." Nebraska... Our Towns. Archived 2011-11-23 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- Dobbs, Hugh Jackson (1918). History of Gage County, Nebraska. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- At least one reference suggests that it was named for Beatrice, last-born child of Queen Victoria (1857–1944), see Packard, Jerrold M. (1998). Victoria's Daughters. New York: St. Martins. p. 62. ISBN 0-312-19562-1.
- "About Gage County". Gage County website. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- Davey, Monica. "Cities View Homesteads as a Source of Income". New York Times. 2010-07-25. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- "Teaching With Documents: The Homestead Act of 1862". National Archives Teachers' Resources. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- "About the Homestead Act". Homestead National Monument of America. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- Ahlgren, Carol (1997). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Institution for Feeble Minded Youth Farm". Nebraska State Historical Society. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- "Nebraska Health and Human Services System Chronological History". Nebraska Library Commission. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- Winter, Deena. "Olivia's story: How BSDC failed one of its most vulnerable". Lincoln Journal Star. 2009-06-14. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- Horacek v. Exon. University of Michigan Law School: The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- Center for Disability Rights, Law and Advocacy (2007). "An Indictment of Indifference". Note 23 on p. 12. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- "Deficiencies Found at Beatrice State Developmental Center". Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Archived 2011-02-21 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- Hicks, Nancy. "BSDC loses Medicaid funding". Lincoln Journal Star. 2009-09-25. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- Beatrice State Developmental Center Archived 2006-02-08 at the Wayback Machine. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Archived 2011-02-21 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2011-01-23.
- "Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC) Demographics". Archived 2011-05-20 at the Wayback Machine Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Archived 2011-02-21 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- "Beatrice State Developmental Center History". Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine Nebraska Department of Administrative Services Building Division. Archived 2010-12-30 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-01-25. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
- United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved October 16, 2013.
- Wolgamott, L. Kent. "Beatrice native's debut film 'The Gallows' to hit theaters". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
- Mikkelson, David. "Choir Non-Quorum".
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