Nebraska City is a city in, and the county seat of, Otoe County, Nebraska, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 7,289.
The Nebraska State Legislature has credited Nebraska City as being the oldest incorporated city in the state, as it was the first approved by a special act of the Nebraska Territorial Legislature in 1855.
Nebraska City is home of Arbor Day, the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Center (which focuses on the natural history achievements of the expedition), and the Mayhew Cabin, the only site in the state recognized by the National Park Service as a station on the Underground Railroad.
Early European-American official exploration was reported in 1804 by Lewis and Clark as they journeyed west along the Missouri River. They encountered many of the historic Native American tribes whose ancestors had inhabited the territory for thousands of years.
During the years of early pioneer settlement, in 1846 the US Army built Old Fort Kearny at Nebraska City. Several years later, the army abandoned it to relocate the fort to central Nebraska, now south of present-day Kearney.
Shortly after the post was vacated, John Boulware developed an important river-crossing and ferry service from Iowa to present-day Nebraska City. He and his father expanded their business and in 1852 or 1853 built a ferry house, the first residence in Nebraska City.
In 1854 the Kansas–Nebraska Act allowed legal settlement in the regional area. Three townships were incorporated by settlers including Stephen Nuckolls, one of the fathers of Nebraska City.