Downtown Wisner: northeast side of Avenue E
|Nickname(s): "Livestock Center of Nebraska"|
Location of Wisner, Nebraska
|• Total||1.06 sq mi (2.75 km2)|
|• Land||1.03 sq mi (2.67 km2)|
|• Water||0.03 sq mi (0.08 km2)|
|Elevation||1,388 ft (423 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||1,172|
|• Density||1,135.9/sq mi (438.6/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0834832|
Wisner is located at (41.989498, -96.914532).
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,170 people, 506 households, and 323 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,135.9 inhabitants per square mile (438.6 /km2). There were 579 housing units at an average density of 562.1 per square mile (217.0 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.9% White, 0.1% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.
There were 506 households of which 26.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.8% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.2% were non-families. 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 16% 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 2.82.
The median age in the city was 44.6 years. 22.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21% were from 25 to 44; 25.5% were from 45 to 64; and 24.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.3% male and 51.7% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,270 people, 564 households, and 350 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,229.1 people per square mile (476.1/km²). There were 598 housing units at an average density of 578.8 per square mile (224.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.35% White, 0.39% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.16% from other races, and 0.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.55% of the population.
There were 564 households out of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.0% were married couples living together, 6.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 34.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.80.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 21.7% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 27.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.6 males.
As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $32,188, and the median income for a family was $40,938. Males had a median income of $28,056 versus $18,869 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,268. About 3.8% of families and 9.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.3% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.
Like most early western communities, Wisner's real existence dates only from the time of the arrival of the railroad. Settlers were in the vicinity as early as the mid-1850s, when the unincorporated community was known as "Lakeview".
The town site was surveyed and platted in 1871 by J.W.E. Farrell and became incorporated on May 14, 1873. The Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad stockholders purchased the tract of land and named it Wisner after S.P. Wisner, a vice president of the Sioux City and Pacific Rail Road. The township where Wisner was platted, Elmont Township, was soon renamed Wisner Township. The first homesteader for the city of Wisner was Richard Thompson.
Growth in the community was constant as lots were sold and dwellings and businesses were erected. For eight years the town was the terminus of the railroad making it a central shipping point for agricultural products and livestock. Hence, the livestock feeding industry developed in close proximity of Wisner. At the turn of the 20th century, Dr. Willet Price, in his autobiography "Boots and Forceps", claimed that there were more hogs within a twenty-five mile radius of Wisner than any other similar-sized region in the United States. The cattle and hog feedlot industries remain the lifeblood of the region, along with the farming of feedcorn.
The local school district was formed in 1879, and within a few years Wisner High School produced its first graduates. The high school and grade school shared the same facilities until 1916, when a "state of the art" high school was built. The school district (listed as Cuming County School District #30) merged with Pilger, Nebraska in 1968 to create the present Wisner-Pilger school district, and a new building was constructed, which is still in use today.
Dinklage Park—Originally known as "City Park", it was donated to the city by the railroad. Located next to the original Wisner high school building, it featured a large gazebo and was often the site for graduations and school activities. In 1960, a swimming pool was built on the site, and that pool was replaced in 1982 with a heated, Olympic-sized pool courtesy of contributions by Wisner cattleman Louis Dinklage. The park was renamed in honor of Louis and his wife Abby Faye in 1982.
Dutch Hollow—Formerly a wooded valley at the base of Nye Hill, it became one of the earliest settled parts of Wisner, and many of its oldest houses can be found here. Ninth Street in Wisner directly runs the route that Dutch Hollow ran, and this street is still referred to as "Dutch Hollow" by residents.
Elkhorn River—Wisner is located directly on the border of this tributary of the Platte River, and it has been the source of several momentous events, such as major floods in 1966 and 1994, as well as a barge accident that killed three children in 1888. Because the river runs at a southeast angle, the roads of Wisner run a similar path, and very few roads in Wisner actually run truly north, south, east or west, but at a severely altered angle. In June 2010 floodwaters washed away the approach to the bridge, inconveniencing local travel and commerce.
Kane's Lake—A lake located directly south of the Elkhorn River, and the lake for which the unincorporated "Lakeview" (Wisner's original name) was named.
Land of Nod—This was an amusement park located just north of today's River Park, from 1917-1940. Founded by Wisner businessman Andy Peterson, it featured livestock show barns, a dance hall and an ice skating rink and was the site of Wisner's first baseball diamond. It was an ambitious project that ultimately failed (mostly due to the development of the nearby City Park). Only the park's brick pillared entry and Peterson's home remains standing.
Nye Hill—The hill upon which a major portion of the city was built, and it was named for the veterinarian who built his home directly upon it, and who owned the majority of the surrounding property. His home and the barn that he used for his practice still remain today.
River Park—Also called "Community Park" and perched directly by the Elkhorn River, this was built on land purchased by the city of Wisner in 1927. Over the years it has been the site of community baseball games (including several state tournaments), high school football (1933–1968), as well as snowmobile and motorcross racing. Most recently, two fields for softball and youth baseball have been added (the softball fields have both served as the home field for the Wisner-Pilger High School softball team since the school started playing the sport in 2007), as well as a tractor pull arena for the annual "Thunder By The River" competition. It also features a rodeo arena and show barns for livestock shows, and has been the site for countless community concerts and activities.
Rock Creek—The primary tributary of the Elkhorn River in the region, located south of Wisner. It was the site of an unincorporated collection of German farmers in the late 19th century who felt shunned by area communities, particularly Wisner and Beemer, Nebraska. The farmers formed a baseball team that became well known throughout Nebraska and Iowa, and was known for drawing large crowds to its games. The "Rock Creek Tigers" played until 1952, when fielding a team became too expensive, and its remaining players began playing for Wisner and the West Point, Nebraska Bombers.
West Field—A pasture owned by the West family, where Wisner High first played football through 1930. The Wisner Auditorium, the community tennis courts and the Wisner volunteer fire department are now located on this property.
"The Blacktop"—An asphalt-paved two-lane road leading south of Wisner, crossing the Elkhorn River. The road was paved in 1964, as the newly constructed Elkhorn River Bridge made it the only route into Wisner from the south. Its true name is "6th Road" (named in 1995 when postal routes were re-defined), but residents south of Wisner (including the Rock Creek community, which lies directly on its route) refer to it as "The Blacktop", after a regional nickname for its asphalt surface. The road connects U.S. Highway 275 Highway to Nebraska Highway 32, which has made it well known as a significant shortcut to Lincoln, Nebraska for area travelers.
U.S. Route 275—Known as "Highway 275", it runs directly through Wisner, forming Wisner's main street and business district. Plans to divert Highway 275 to routes north of town (as part of a four lane expressway project) have been continually discussed, with local businesses hoping for a portion of the highway's traffic to continue to run though Wisner.
- Warren Alfson – 1940 All-American Guard, Nebraska Cornhuskers; NFL player, Brooklyn Dodgers (NFL), 1941
- Lewis H. Brown - Quarterback for the 1930-31 Nebraska Cornhuskers
- Dale M. Hansen – Medal of Honor recipient
- Virginia Huston - Hollywood actress (known as "Virginia Houston")
- Jim Kane - High school sports coach
- John Henry Kyl - Iowa Congressional Representative
- Jerry LaNoue – 1936 All Big Six Halfback, Nebraska Cornhuskers
- Frank Merriam – Former Wisner school superintendent; later Governor of California
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Wisner News-Chronicle, April 11, 1952