Hastings is located in Adams County
and it is the county seat. It lies 24 miles south of Grand Island
, between Ayr and Doniphan, along Highway 34/281.
In 1871, the first home in Hastings was built by Walter Micklen. In 1872, the city was founded at the eastern terminus of the St. Joseph & Denver City Railroad and named after railroad contractor Colonel Thomas D. Hastings.
Today Hastings, population 24,000, is a wholesale agricultural distributing center. Hastings also is the birthplace of Kool-Aid. The city is home to Hastings College, a noted liberal arts insititution, the Nebraska Softball Hall of Fame and Hastings Museum of Natural and Cultural History. The area is accessible by birders to view the annual migration of cranes and waterfowl as they take rest stops in the Rainwater Basin and along the Platte River. For hunters, nearby Bunker Hill Hunting Preserve offers upland bird, waterfowl and big-game hunting. Hastings also is near Crystal Lake State Recreational Area.