Bellevue Population: 50,137*

 

Historic Bellevueans

   J. S. Allen
   S. D. Bangs
   Maj. Barrow
   Hiram Bennett
   Isaiah N. Bennett
   Francis Burt
   F. Calkins
   H. T. Clarke
   Col.  Stephen Decatur
   Mr. Dunbar
   Mr. Ellis
   William R. English
   John Finney
   C. D. Keller
   George Nepner
   William R. English
   A. C. Ford
   James M. Galewood
   William Gilmer
   James Gow
   Esquire Griffin
   Rev.  Mr. Hamilton
   A. W. Hollister
   L. B. Kinney
   Manuel Lesa
   Col. R. Lovejoy
   Walter Lowrie
   M. S. Martyn
   Rev.  Edward McKinney
   P. J. McMahon
   J. Sterling Morton
   George Nepner
   D. E. Reed
   Gen. Peter A. Sarpy
   C. E. Smith
   S. A. Strickland
   J. A. Thompson
   George T. Turner
   Dr. Upjohn
   Watson brothers
   W. W. Wiley

 

NE Neighbors

    Nebraska
    Iowa
    Missouri
    Kansas
    Colorado
    Wyoming
    South Dakota

 

Bellevue Name History

Way before Omaha was being settled, a major trading post had been established in the area.

The area went through changes before officially becoming the town of Bellevue in 1856.

The name.  Back to the top of this page.

The Lewis and Clark expedition reached the mouth of the Platte River on July 21st, 1804.  They spent two days checking out the area around the mouth of the Platte and the area to the north and west, including the area that eventually became the city of Bellevue.

Possibly before but certainly after the Lewis and Clark expedition, several places on both sides of the Missouri from around Bellevue to the Ft. Calhoun area were referred to as Council Bluffs.

In 1807, Manuel Lesa/Lisa,  a Spanish adventurer organized a trapping party that ventured into the area between the legs of the Platte River and the Missouri River.  He commented on the view as "La Belle Vue" (beautiful view).  Liking the area, Manuel opened a fur trading post nearby.  Soon the area was known as "Trader's Point."  Even though neither was official, around this time the area was often referred to as Belle vue (sometimes written as two words).

In 1823, the Indian agency that had previously been established at Ft. Calhoun was moved to the Trader's Point area, and later known in Government reports as the "Council Bluffs Indian Agency at Bellevue."  The agency on the Iowa side being the "Council Bluffs Sub-Agency."*

In the fall of 1849, the "Nebraska Post Office" was established in the area of Trader's Point, however, two years later, the Post Office's name was changed to "Council Bluffs" to match the Indian Agency name.*

A report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs comments on the feasibility of the same area as a town, "Nowhere in all of beautiful Nebraska is there a prettier spot for a town than that of the now half-deserted Belle vue.  At this point the river bottoms are from one-quarter to one-half mile in width.  Back of them rise the bluffs at an elevation of about thirty feet above the river level, and upon these bluffs lies a broad plateau almost as level as a floor.  To the north and west rise higher bluffs and hills, which drop to the south as they approach the Platte River, and melt in the lowlands on its north bank. From the windows of the old Mission could be seen the glittering Missouri hurrying to the great cities of the South, and beyond the woods of the Iowa shore, somber in the faint beams of the departing sun, or thrown into bold relief as the day broke beyond them in the east."

Soon the Trader's Point post office name was known more than the trading post itself.  In 1848, the Trader's Point area was also well known as Council Bluffs, however, the residents preferred and used the name "Council Point."  Gold seekers on their way to California mailed letters back east addressed from, "Council Bluffs" (as described by C. C. Goss in a lecture in 1857*).  Even though the post office was called Council Bluffs, the post office was located at Trader's Point (where Bellevue is today).

In 1851, the Mormon community of Kanesville was losing its Mormon population as they headed west, and the remaining residents decided to survey the area and adopt a new name.  Due to the popularity of Trader's Point unofficially being known as Council Bluffs, the surveyor, A. D. Jones, suggested the residents of Kanesville adopt the name of "Council Bluffs City" in order to intercept any mail directed to the Council Bluffs post office at Trader's Point.  The suggestion took hold and the name was adopted, although the City part was dropped a while later.

In July 1854, Nebraska had just become a territory and it was presumed by many that the area around Trader's Point would be the new territorial capitol but following the capitol hill antics of acting Governor Cuming that placed the capitol in Omaha, all westward adventurous folks headed there instead.  This included several of Bellevue's early settlers, drastically causing the population to drop off.  The decline in population also contributed to the demise of the fur trading at Trader's Point.  Still a few residents remained in the community.

When the town was planned in 1856 to adopt an official name, the original suggestion for the town's name was Council City, however, three years earlier, the community of Kanesville had adopted the name of Council Bluffs City.  Trader's Point no longer seemed fitting but throughout the community's short life, it had often been known by its nickname, Belle vue, so "Bellevue" won out.

 

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