The North Bottoms neighborhood was settled by Germans from Russia beginning in the 1870s. During the preceding century they had colonized in Russia, attracted by offers of free land, military exemption, and political autonomy. In 1871, when the Czar revoked these privileges, a flood of German emigration to the Americas began.
Immigrants were drawn to the Great Plains by land and jobs. Lincoln became a majordestination. Here most took residence along the bottom lands of Salt Creek, where frequent flooding diminished land values and rail yards offered employment. Settler from the same villages clustered together, creating a distinct neighborhood.
The North Bottoms ethnic enclave developed its own businesses, social groups, churches, and schools. Small houses on long, narrow lots followed either Old World models or the new American styles. In the backyards, chicken coops, tiny barns, and summer kitchens recalled the old country agricultural community. Descendants have largely dispersed throughout Lincoln and the nation, but North Bottoms reminds us of the old "urban villages" immigrants built in a new land.