From the 1830s to the 1860s, the area saw a great deal of traffic due to the Mormon Trail, which passed along the north bank of the Platte River. A ferry connected the two banks of the Elkhorn River near Fremont. It was a major overland route for emigrant settlers going to the West, the military and hunters.
Fremont was laid out in 1856 in anticipation that the railroad would be extended to that site. It was named after the American explorer, politician and military official General John C. Frémont.
Due to the town's geographically central location, the First Transcontinental Telegraph line (1861), railroad (1866) and highway (1913) passed through or very near Fremont. Original brick portions of the "Old Lincoln Highway" located east of Fremont, on the way to Omaha.
Fremont is the namesake for the Fremont neighborhood in Seattle, which was settled by Luther H. Griffith and Edward Blewett from Fremont.
On January 10, 1976, in downtown Fremont, the Pathfinder Hotel exploded due to a natural gas leak in the basement. At the time the hotel was being used as apartments, mostly occupied by senior citizens. It also was a meeting place for philanthropic and business organizations, and had a drug store on the northwest corner. The explosion shattered windows around the city, and the ensuing fire killed 23 people and destroyed most of the city block of the hotel.
Fremont gained national attention in 2010 when residents approved a referendum that would ban illegal immigrants from renting and working in the town.
Fremont is located along the Platte River, approximately 35 miles (56 km) northwest of the largest city in the area, Omaha, and 50 miles (80 km) northeast of the state capitol, Lincoln.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.85 square miles (22.92 km2), of which, 8.80 square miles (22.79 km2) is land and 0.05 square miles (0.13 km2) is water. Fremont is quite flat, lying in the river plain between the Platte and Elkhorn rivers, at an elevation of approximately 366 meters (1,203 ft) above sea level.
Fremont is the county seat of Dodge County, Nebraska, and is likewise the financial and social center of the area. Facilitated by the completion of the US Highway 275 and Highway 30 bypass around Fremont, from Omaha, eastern Fremont is growing rapidly as a bedroom community for Omaha (see links to air photos below).
As of the census of 2010, there were 26,397 people, 10,725 households, and 6,862 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,999.7 inhabitants per square mile (1,158.2/km2). There were 11,427 housing units at an average density of 1,298.5 per square mile (501.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.2% White, 0.7% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 7.1% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.9% of the population.
There were 10,725 households of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.0% were non-families. 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.94.
The median age in the city was 38 years. 24.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.9% were from 25 to 44; 24.7% were from 45 to 64; and 17.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.5% male and 51.5% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 25,174 people, 10,171 households, and 6,672 families residing in the city, which makes it the 6th largest city in Nebraska. The population density was 3,393.3 people per square mile (1,309.9/km²). There were 10,576 housing units at an average density of 1,425.6 per square mile (550.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.28% White, 0.57% African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 2.29% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.31% of the population.
There were 10,171 households out of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.0% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.4% were non-families. 29.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the city, the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $36,700, and the median income for a family was $45,259. Males had a median income of $31,865 versus $21,035 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,006. About 5.1% of families and 8.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.1% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.
Fremont has its roots in agriculture and is still an agribusiness community, with the typical skyline of grain silos and elevators. It is also home to several industries; the nationally known meat-packing company, Hormel (the maker of SPAM), is the largest employer in town. The city also has Jayhawk boxes, Magnus Metals. Other large employers include the Fremont Area Medical Center and the local newspaper, the Fremont Tribune. The three major industrial sectors in Fremont are food processing, metal fabrication, and teleservices.
The Louis E. May Historical Museum is housed in a Victorian house built by Fremont's first mayor, Theron Nye, in 1874. A log cabin on the site is an example of the type of dwelling in which the earliest pioneers lived who moved to Nebraska as part of the Homestead Act. Fremont's railroad history is preserved in the Fremont & Elkhorn Valley Railroad (FEVR), weekend trips on the historical Fremont Dinner Train, and at the Nebraska Railroad Museum. Historic downtown Fremont is known for its numerous antique stores, and a collection of historical buildings.
Several local buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Among these is the Love-Larson Opera House on Broad Street, built in 1888. Later used as apartments and a grocery store, it was restored for theatre use by a non-profit group in the 1970s, and again in 2003 by the Fremont High Drama Club. The county courthouse is the center of justice for the area.
Each summer, in July, Fremont spends a long weekend celebrating John C. Fremont Days, which is a celebration of Fremont's history through a parade, Chautauqua, rodeo, classic car show and local vendors selling their handmade crafts. It draws attendees from around the area for both historical and social reasons.
For recreation, the Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area (also known as "the State Lakes") attracts boaters, skiers, fishermen and beachgoers from the area to the group of 20 man-made tree-lined lakes which cover nearly 700 acres (2.8 km2), along the Platte River. Two regional Boy Scout camps, Camp Cedars and Camp Eagle, are located near Fremont, along the Platte River.
Fremont forms part of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum collection.
Fremont has 21 city-owned parks, with a combined area of over 400 acres (1.6 km2). Located in the northwest corner of Fremont near the "Washington Heights" neighborhood is the Fremont Golf Club (FGC). The FGC was completed in 1930 and features 6,390 yards (5,840 m) of golf from the longest tees for a par of 71.
In 2007 construction of the "Splash Station" water park was completed. The park cost an estimated $5.1 million and features an interactive train slide, combination lap pool and wave pool, body slide and speed slide.
Fremont is the home of the undergraduate liberal arts college, Midland University, which houses the Musbach Art Center, among other attractions. The Metropolitan Community College system has a community college campus in Fremont as well.
There is one public high school, Fremont Senior High (part of the Fremont Public School System), one private school, Archbishop Bergan Catholic School (Pre-K-12), and one private elementary/middle school, Trinity Lutheran School.U.S. Route 30
U.S. Route 77
U.S. Route 275
William L. Armstrong, served as a United States Representative and Senator from Colorado
Sue Bierman, San Francisco civic activist and Supervisor
Gutzon Borglum, sculptor
Harold Eugene Edgerton, pioneer in stroboscopic photography
Marg Helgenberger, film and television actress
Charlie Janssen, Nebraska State Auditor, former member of Nebraska legislature
Doron Jensen, founder of Timber Lodge Steakhouse
Richard A. Jensen, theologian and professor at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Ben Sasse, United States Senator
Julie Sommars, film and television actress
Sloppy Thurston, starting pitcher in Major League Baseball
Zach Wiegert, player in the National Football League