Clay Center, Nebraska

Clay Center, Nebraska
Clay Center, Nebraska
—  City  —
Downtown Clay Center
Location of Clay Center, Nebraska
Coordinates: 40°31′20″N 98°3′18″W / 40.52222°N 98.055°W / 40.52222; -98.055Coordinates: 40°31′20″N 98°3′18″W / 40.52222°N 98.055°W / 40.52222; -98.055
Country United States
State Nebraska
County Clay
 – Mayor L. Wayne Johnson
 – Total 0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)
 – Land 0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)
 – Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 1,785 ft (544 m)
Population (2000)
 – Total 861
 – Density 1,215.3/sq mi (469.2/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 – Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 68933
Area code(s) 402
FIPS code 31-09375[1]
GNIS feature ID 0828169[2]

Clay Center is a city in and the county seat of Clay County, Nebraska, United States.[3] It is part of the Hastings, Nebraska Micropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 861 at the 2000 census.



Clay Center is located at 40°31′20″N 98°3′18″W / 40.52222°N 98.055°W / 40.52222; -98.055 (40.522291, -98.055076)[4].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2), all of it land.


Clay Center was laid out in the summer of 1879. An election on November 4, 1879, confirmed Clay Center as the location for the Clay County seat following months of heated competition with rivals Sutton and Harvard. W. D. Young erected the first building on the site, a frame structure, which was used as the temporary courthouse. In February 1887 Clay Center became an incorporated village.

Industrial development began in 1903 when M. M. Johnson built a factory to manufacture "Old Trusty" poultry incubators and brooders that were sold nationwide. The factory provided employment for hundreds of local citizens. The Johnson Company established radio station KMMJ in 1925 to promote its products, and the station made Clay Center a well-known and respected name in farm homes throughout the Midwest.

Clay Center experienced dramatic change in 1942 when a Naval Ammunition Depot was built just west of town to produce bombs and shells during World War II. This property was later transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has been designated by Congress as the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center.

The Slayton Jubilee Singers entertain employees of the Old Trusty Incubator Factory, Clay Center, about 1910


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 861 people, 343 households, and 243 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,215.3 people per square mile (468.2/km²). There were 373 housing units at an average density of 526.5 per square mile (202.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.17% White, 0.58% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.93% Asian, 1.16% from other races, and 0.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.02% of the population.

There were 343 households out of which 35.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.6% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.9% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.6% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 26.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 91.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,597, and the median income for a family was $45,893. Males had a median income of $30,982 versus $20,446 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,577. About 7.6% of families and 9.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.5% of those under age 18 and 1.7% of those age 65 or over.


Accredited "A" by the State Board of Education, Clay Center High School (CCHS) has an exceptional academic reputation with test scores consistently above the state and national averages.

The K-12 system enjoys a modern high school facility and gym. In the past five years, CCHS has earned five state championships in various sports. An experienced administration and staff provide an average 1 to 10 teacher-to-pupil ratio. Community scholarships are available to graduating seniors.

Served by Educational Service Unit No. 9 of Hastings, CCHS receives resources and expertise for its teachers and students.

Clay Center is ideally located near several post-secondary institutions. It is one and one-half hours from the University of Nebraska/Lincoln and University of Nebraska/Kearney; one-half hour from Hastings College and the Mary Lanning School of Nursing, and 20 minutes from Central Community College in Hastings.

Service Organizations

A 40-man volunteer fire department, a 24-hour volunteer EMT and ambulance service, an active community club, senior center, and the Mrs. CC's keep people involved in the welfare of the community. In addition, the community is also served by the Lion's Club, American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, VFW, SAL, and numerous Extension Clubs. The Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and 4-H are all established in the community.

Popular culture

  • The novel, Clay Center by Phil Condon, was named after the town.


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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