Hastings is a city in and
the county seat of Adams
County, Nebraska, United States.
The population was 24,064 at the 2000 census
. Hastings is home to
, a four-year
liberal arts college founded in 1882. It is known as the town where
was invented by Edwin Perkins
in 1927, and celebrates that
event with Kool-Aid Days
the second weekend of every August.
is also home to Fisher Fountain, and
during World War II operated the largest Naval Ammunition
Depot in the United States.
Hastings is also the
birthplace of Neal Hefti
University of Nebraska
football coach and Congressman Tom Osborne
. A National Weather Service Forecast
Office is located there, serving central and south-central Nebraska
and six counties in north-central Kansas.
June 24, 2007, Hastings won Yahoo's Greenest City in America
competition. Hastings is the principal city of the
Hastings, Nebraska Micropolitan Statistical Area,
which consists of Adams and Clay counties.
Hastings contains several elementary schools. The largest public
elementary is Longfellow. Others are Hawthorne, Watson, Alcott,
Morton, and Lincoln. Zion Lutheran serves students in grades K-8th.
There is a new middle school that opened in the fall of 2008. The
high schools are Hastings High School (public) and St. Cecilia's
(Catholic). Just outside of town is Adams Central Junior/Senior
High(public rural). All of these schools score above the national
average in the SAT.
Central Community College, a 2-year technical college, began
serving students in 1966 and occupies the site of the old Naval
Ammunition Depot. Hastings College, the alma mater of former U.S.
Congressman and current University of Nebraska Athletic Director
, is a private liberal arts
college located in Hastings.
Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides
service through Hastings, operating its California Zephyr daily in each direction
between Chicago and Emeryville, California, across the bay from San Francisco.
Hastings is served by major automobile
routes, including east-west U.S.
, north-south U.S. Highway
. Hastings is about 14 miles south of Interstate 80
Hastings is located at (40.589293, -98.391689) . According to the
United States Census
, the city has a total area of 10.0 square miles
(25.8 km²), of which 9.8 square miles (25.5 km²) is
land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²), or 1.31%, is
As of the census
of 2000, there were 24,064
people, 9,610 households, and 5,948 families residing in the city.
The population density
2,448.5 people per square mile (945.2/km²). There were 10,333
housing units at an average density of 1,051.4/sq mi
(405.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.39% White
, 0.79% African American
, 0.04% Pacific Islander
, 2.39% from
, and 0.96%
from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 5.58% of the
There were 9,610 households out of which 29.6% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples
living together, 9.2% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 38.1% were non-families.
31.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.2% had
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.6% under the age
of 18, 12.8% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to
64, and 16.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was
36 years. For every 100 females there were 93.7 males. For every
100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,461, and the
median income for a family was $44,688. Males had a median income
of $29,633 versus $21,262 for females. The per capita income
for the city was
$17,941. About 5.6% of families and 10.0% of the population were
below the poverty line
, including 10.6%
of those under age 18 and 6.7% of those age 65 or over.
The Jacob Fisher Rainbow Fountain is the largest water fountain
between Chicago and Denver and is located in the Highland Park of
Hastings. The fountain was considered a "sign of hope" for the town
during the Great Depression
Fisher Fountain was originally meant to be a temporary exhibit at
the 1932 Adams County Fair, but was made permanent because of its
popularity. The fountain was relocated to Highland Park in
The fountain's name was developed by school children during a
contest held by the town. The two winning essays were combined to
create the fountain's permanent name. Jacob Fisher was the mayor of
Hastings when the Highland Park was first developed. The "Rainbow
Fountain" describes intricate lighting of continuously changing
arrays of water jets (which reach heights of 67 feet). It is called
the "Rainbow Fountain" because the water changes to various colors
(green, yellow, orange, red, magenta, and blue).
In early July 1984, Fisher Fountain was the target of brutal
vandalism and blown up with dynamite. Its destruction aroused a
strong community response. Many members of the town volunteered
their time and quickly rebuilt the fountain. In defiance of the
vandals, the Fisher Fountain was rebuilt to the exact
specifications of the original and boasts no security besides a
waist-high wrought iron fence. There is a simple plaque describing
the attack and subsequent community efforts on the side of the
fountain's pump house.
Naval Ammunition Depot
During World War II the Naval Ammunition Depot (NAD) was the
largest of four munitions depots in the country and was known for
producing nearly 40 percent of the Navy's ammunition supply at one
point during WWII. Igloo-shaped, earth covered mounds still line
U.S. Highway 6 for a distance of over four miles. The Depot
included over 2,000 structures, and encompassed 48,753 acres. A
blast on September 15, 1944, ascribed to human error (thought to be
caused by someone illegally smoking in one of the "igloo" shaped
storage facilities), killed nine people and injured 53. The blast
was so bright that it could be seen from the nearby town of
Doniphan (11 miles north of Hastings). During the Vietnam War, a
portion of the NAD was turned over to the Air Force. This became a
radar bomb scoring detachment that helped train pilots in
electronic bombing techniques that were used in southeast Asia. The
land now houses the Central Community College, a Department of
Agriculture Meat Animal Research Center, an industrial park, golf
course and training facilities for National Guardsmen and