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Red Cloud, Nebraska
Willa Cather's childhood home
Location of Red Cloud within Webster County and Nebraska
Location of Red Cloud within Webster County and Nebraska
Country United States
State Nebraska
County Webster
 • Total 1.03 sq mi (2.66 km2)
 • Land 1.03 sq mi (2.66 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
1,716 ft (523 m)
 • Total 1,020
 • Estimate 
 • Density 891.92/sq mi (344.22/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 402
FIPS code 31-40920
GNIS feature ID 0832484
U.S. Routes US 136.svg US 281.svg
Bank (1889), Willa Cather History Center,Red Cloud, Nebraska
Farmers' and Merchants' Bank building (1889), in Red Cloud, now property of the Willa Cather Foundation.

Red Cloud is a city in and the county seat of Webster County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 1,020 at the 2010 census.


The region of present-day Red Cloud was intermittently occupied and used as hunting grounds by the Pawnees until 1833. In that year, a treaty was signed in which the Pawnees surrendered their lands south of the Platte River. According to George Hyde, it is likely that the Pawnees did not realize that they were thereby giving up their lands, and that they were led to believe that they were only granting the Delawares and other relocated tribes permission to hunt in the area.

In 1870, the area that is now Webster County was opened to homesteaders. In that year, Silas Garber and other settlers filed claims along Crooked Creek, just east of the present-day city. In 1871, the town, named after the renowned Oglala Lakota leader Red Cloud, was voted county seat of the newly formed county. The city was platted in 1872.

The author Willa Cather lived in Red Cloud for several years with her family, starting in 1884 at age nine. She used the town as inspiration for several in her novels, including Black Hawk in My Ántonia. In addition to writing about the city Cather also published while living in Red Cloud. The Red Cloud Chief, the city's first newspaper, published early contributions from the author. Several 19th-century buildings described in her books are included in the Willa Cather Historic District, the largest district dedicated to an author that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Her childhood home is part of the district.


Red Cloud is located at 40°5′18″N 98°31′22″W / 40.08833°N 98.52278°W / 40.08833; -98.52278 (40.088222, -98.522660). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.02 square miles (2.64 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 677
1890 1,839 171.6%
1900 1,554 −15.5%
1910 1,686 8.5%
1920 1,856 10.1%
1930 1,519 −18.2%
1940 1,610 6.0%
1950 1,744 8.3%
1960 1,525 −12.6%
1970 1,531 0.4%
1980 1,300 −15.1%
1990 1,204 −7.4%
2000 1,131 −6.1%
2010 1,020 −9.8%
2019 (est.) 916 −10.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 1,020 people, 480 households, and 267 families living in the city. The population density was 1,000.0 inhabitants per square mile (386.1/km2). There were 594 housing units at an average density of 582.4 per square mile (224.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.5% White, 0.8% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 1.2% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.3% of the population.

There were 480 households, of which 22.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 44.4% were non-families. 40.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 24.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.04 and the average family size was 2.73.

The median age in the city was 50.5 years. 20.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 15.2% were from 25 to 44; 27.1% were from 45 to 64; and 31.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 45.8% male and 54.2% female.


The city owns and operates a swimming pool in its park, and it maintains a nine-hole golf course that is claimed to be the third-best such course in the state.

Red Cloud 4th Ave and Webster NE 4
Main Street Historic District

Notable people

  • Willa Cather, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer
  • Silas Garber, governor of Nebraska
  • Gilbert E. McKeeby, Nebraska and Wisconsin state legislator
  • William A. McKeighan, member of the United States House of Representatives
  • William Norris, computer pioneer
  • Les Seiler, Nebraska legislator
  • Robert T. Smith, flight leader and ace with the American Volunteer Group
  • Donald Stratton, USS Arizona survivor.

In fiction, Kim Wexler of the AMC drama Better Call Saul was born and raised in Red Cloud.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Red Cloud (Nebraska) para niños

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