is a city
in Madison County
, United States
, 113 miles northwest of Omaha
at the intersection of U.S. Routes 81
. The population was 23,516 at the 2000 census
. It is the only micropolitan area
in northeast Nebraska.
Norfolk is the eastern terminus of the Cowboy Trail.
In the late summer of 1865, three scouts were sent from a German Lutheran
settlement near Ixonia, Wisconsin
to find productive, inexpensive farmland. They traveled from Chicago
to St. Joseph, Missouri
by train, and then traveled by ferry to Omaha to begin their search. After initially spurning West Point
as too crowded, they finally laid claim to land about four miles north of where the North Fork of the Elkhorn River joined the main branch in September of that year.
On May 23, 1866, 124 settlers representing 42 families set out for Northeast Nebraska in three wagon trains. They arrived a few months later, on July 15. (Pangle, 1929)
The name "Norfolk" is traditionally pronounced "Norfork" by Nebraskans. When the city was incorporated (as a village) in 1881, it was named after the "north fork" tributary of the Elkhorn River on which it lies. The United States Postal Service assumed that "Norfork" was a mistake and changed the name to "Norfolk". This became the official spelling, but the local pronunciation did not change.
Norfolk briefly held the county seat for Madison County, from approximately 1867 to 1875. In a four-city election, nearby Battle Creek and Madison eliminated Norfolk from consideration, and after Madison won the runoff election, the county seat permanently moved there. Norfolk has tried unsuccessfully to win back the county government: unsuccessfully contesting the 1875 election to the Nebraska Supreme Court; failing to gain enough of a majority in a new vote in 1886; and most recently, losing an election to Madison for placement of a county courthouse in the 1970s.
On September 26, 2002, Norfolk was the site of one of the deadliest bank robberies in the nation when three gunmen robbed a US Bank branch, killing five people in the process.
Geography and Climate
Norfolk is located at (42.0283379, -97.4169964), along the Elkhorn River
at the spot where its north fork tributary
enters the main stream.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.1 square miles (26.1 km²), of which, 10.0 square miles (25.8 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (0.99%) is water.
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As of the census
of 2000, there were 23,516 people, 9,360 households, and 5,868 families residing in the city. The population density
was 2,358.0 people per square mile (910.7/km²). There were 10,072 housing units at an average density of 1,009.9/sq mi (390.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.41% White
, 1.16% African American
, 1.53% Native American
, 0.48% Asian
, 0.03% Pacific Islander
, 4.19% from other races
, and 1.19% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 7.61% of the population.
There were 9,360 households out of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.3% were non-families. 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 13.4% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 94.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,609, and the median income for a family was $45,460. Males had a median income of $31,445 versus $21,397 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,990. About 7.0% of families and 11.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.6% of those under age 18 and 12.2% of those age 65 or over.
Norfolk's economy is heavily rooted in health care and manufacturing. Its largest employers include:
Elementary and secondary education
Colleges and universities
Norfolk has one television station, KXNE-TV 19 (DTV 16), which is part of the NET Television
Norfolk has one AM station: WJAG 780 (news/talk). There are six FM stations: KXNE-FM 89.3 (public radio); KPNO 90.9 (Christian talk); K219DW 91.9 (Christian talk); KUSO 92.7 (country); KNEN 94.7 (Top 40); and KEXL 106.7 (adult contemporary).
The Norfolk Daily News is the city's daily newspaper.
- Norfolk is the birthplace of Thurl Ravenscroft, best known as the voice of "Tony the Tiger".
- Johnny Carson (born in Corning, Iowa) moved to Norfolk at the age of 8 years old and graduated from Norfolk High School. He made donations totaling nearly $5 million to city organizations and efforts, including a cancer center, the senior center, library, museum, arts center, and local community college.
- Max Carl (Gronenthal), singer and songwriter for .38 Special, grew up in Humphrey, and graduated from a Norfolk High School. He was with the band for its Rock & Roll Strategy and Bone Against Steel albums, and co-wrote the #1 hit song "Second Chance".
- John Stinson, actor, grew up in Norfolk and graduated from Norfolk Catholic High School. 150 Television commercials, a dozen movies and television shows, voice work in New York and Los Angeles.
- Model rocketry was invented in Norfolk in 1954 by Orville Carlisle, working in the basement of his shoe store on 420 Norfolk Avenue.
- Joyce Ballantyne, painter of pin-up art, was born in Norfolk.
- Joyce Hall, created the Norfolk Post Card Company in 1908, eventually moving the company to Kansas City, Missouri to become Hallmark Cards.
- Scott Munter, pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, was born in Norfolk.
- Shane Osborn, pilot of the plane downed in the U.S.-China spy plane incident, was raised in Norfolk and graduated from Norfolk High School.
- Don Stewart, actor best known for his role in Guiding Light
- Doris Pawn, an actress in silent motion pictures
- Jim Buchanan, a major-league baseball pitcher for the St. Louis Browns
- Patrick M. Martin, later a U.S. Representative for California
- The Smoke Ring, a 1960s rock band