Tiny Rochester was selected to be state capital in 1867 – on the condition that it change its name to Lincoln in honor of the recently assassinated president.
Dwarfing the rest of downtown, the central tower of the 1932 Nebraska state capitol, 1445 K St (Mon– Fri 8am–5pm, Sat 10am–5pm, Sun 1–5pm; tours every hour; free), protrudes 400ft into the sky. Topped by a 20ft statue of a sower on a pedestal of wheat and corn, its remarkably phallic appearance has prompted the nickname "penis of the prairies." From the fourteenth-floor observation deck you can survey the flatness of the surrounding farmland.
Twelve thousand years of life on the plains are covered at the Museum of Nebraska History, Centennial Mall at 15th and P streets (Tues– Fri 9am–4.30pm, Sat & Sun 1–4:30pm; $2 suggested donation), where displays focus on anthropology rather than history. The Elephant Hall, a gallery of towering mammoth, mastodon, and four-tusker skeletons, is the highlight of the University of Nebraska State Museum at 14th and U streets (Mon– Sat 9.30am–4.30pm, Sun 1.30–4.30pm; $5).