Grand Island is a city in and the county seat of Hall County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 53,131 at the 2020 census.
Grand Island is the principal city of the Grand Island metropolitan area, which consists of Hall, Merrick, Howard and Hamilton counties. The Grand Island metropolitan area has an official population of 83,472 residents.
Grand Island has been given the All-America City Award four times (1955, 1967, 1981, and 1982) by the National Civic League.
Grand Island is home to the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center, which is the sole agency responsible for training law enforcement officers throughout the state, as well as the home of the Southern Power District serving southern Nebraska.
In 1857, 35 German settlers left Davenport, Iowa, and headed west to Nebraska to start a new settlement on an island known by French traders as La Grande Isle, which was formed by the Wood River and the Platte River. The settlers reached their destination on July 4, 1857, and by September had built housing using local timber. They set up farms but initially had no market to sell their goods until a market opened at Fort Kearny. When the Pike's Peak Gold Rush began, Grand Island was the last place travelers could obtain supplies before they crossed the plains.
Black-and-white photo: ca. 20 one-story buildings on treeless prairie
Grand Island, 1867
Surveyors from the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) laid out a town called Grand Island Station and many settlers living on Grand Island moved to the new town, located slightly inland from the island. In 1868 the railroad reached the area, bringing increased trade and business. Grand Island became the end of the east division of the railroad and UP built service facilities for their locomotives in the town as well as an elegant hotel for passengers providing a boost for the local economy. The cost of the railroad coming into town was the denudement of most of the hardwood trees on the island for use as ties for the railroad. By 1870, 1,057 people lived in the town and in 1872 the town was incorporated as Grand Island.
In about 1890, sugar beets were introduced as a crop in Nebraska. The first sugar beet processing factory in the United States was built in the southwest part of Grand Island.
Famous Peoples From Grand Island Nebraska
(September 26, 1876 – July 28, 1957) was an American economist, statistician, social worker, educator, and author. Abbott was born in Grand Island, Nebraska. Abbott was a pioneer in the profession of social work with an educational background in economics. She was a leading activist in social reform with the ideals that humanitarianism needed to be embedded in education. Abbott was also in charge of implementing social work studies to the graduate level. Though she was met with resistance on her work with social reform at the University of Chicago, she ultimately was successful and was elected as the school's dean in 1924, making her the first female dean in the United States. Abbott was foremost an educator and saw her work as a combination of legal studies and humanitarian work which shows in her social security legislation. She is known as an economist who pursued implementing social work at the graduate level. Her younger sister was Grace Abbott.