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Central City is located in Merrick County (of which it is the county seat), just northeast of Grand Island on US Hwy 30, between Grand Island and Columbus, near the Platte River.

The population estimate for July 1, 1998 was 2,869, an increase of 1 since 1990.

Central City, founded in 1866, was originally named Lone Tree for a giant solitary cottonwood tree which was reportedly visible from 20 miles away and served as a prominent marker for pioneers on the Overland Trails.

Local attractions include Bader Memorial Park Natural Area, Lone Tree Monument, Historical Mural and the Merrick County Historical Museum.

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