Bellevue, gateway to the upper Missouri and the fur trade empire, is the oldest continuous settlement in Nebraska. This town was born, became important, almost died, and now in the 20th century, has been revitalized.
Fur traders dealing with the Omaha, Ponca, Oto, and Pawnee, first gave it life. Manuel Lisa probably named it for the beautiful view at the junction of the Platte and Missouri Valleys.
In 1823, an Indian Agency was established in Bellevue. Here and at the Peter Sarpy fur trading post travelers such as Prince Maximilian, Carl Bodmer, George Catlin, and John C. Fremont, were welcomed. By 1846 Bellevue was a steamboat landing and the site of an important Indian Mission. Here Francis Burt, the first territorial governor, arrived in 1854, and the first territorial newspaper, the Nebraska Palladium, was published.
When the territorial capital was located at Omaha, and the Pacific Railroad was routed to the north, Bellevue faded. In the 1940's the town was rejuvenated when thousands of military personnel, who man the Strategic Air Command center of defense for the western world, made Bellevue their home.