Norfolk is located in northeast Nebraska in the Elkhorn River Valley of Madison County. U.S. Highways 81 and 275 and Nebraska Highways 24 and 35 intersect in Norfolk. Norfolk is 112 miles northwest of Omaha, 121 miles north of Lincoln, and 75 miles southwest of Sioux City, Iowa.

General Information

Norfolk, Nebraska, population 24,210 (2010 U.S. Census Figures)


Norfolk sits in the heart of the Elkhorn Valley, with the Sand Hills lying to the west and farmland to the east. The surrounding land is gently rolling. The land is mainly Marshall and Shelby series soils of good absorptive quality, retaining moisture yet providing good drainage.


Emergency Room

2700 W. Norfolk Ave., Norfolk, NE

Faith Regional

2700 W. Norfolk Ave., Norfolk, NE


Madison County Sheriff

1313 North Main Street, Madison, NE

Norfolk City Police

202 N. 7th, Norfolk, NE, Norfolk, NE



Area Last Census (2000) Latest Year (2004) % Change
Norfolk 23,516 24,072 2.4
Madison County 35,226 35,752 1.5
Labor Market Population 104,762 103,365 -1.3

Labor market population is the county population plus the contiguous county population. (Source: Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Estimates of the Population, Released August 11, 2005.)

County Age Distribution (2004)

Age Male Female Total
0-17 4,681 4,443 9,124
18-24 2,340 2,088 4,428
25-44 4,629 4,354 8,983
45-64 4,071 4,109 8,180
65+ 2,030 3,007 5,037
85+ 263 668 931
Total 17,751 18,001
% Split 49.7 50.3

Median Age (2004)

State 35.9 years, County 35.4 years
(Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, County Population Estimates by Selected Age and Gender: July 1, 2005.)


On July 17, 1866, a three-train caravan of prairie schooners carrying 44 German families from Ixonia and Watertown, Wisconsin, arrived at the junction of Elkhorn and North Fork Valleys where they were attracted by the rich land open for settlement. These pioneers were joined by others from Wisconsin and formed the community which later became Norfolk. Others, some from New England, soon came to the new settlement and established a grist mill which was operated by water from the North Fork River. A mill store was opened, and this structure determined the location of the town.

How Norfolk Was Named

In 1881, the village of Norfolk was organized. The settlers proclaimed “North Fork” to be their permanent post office address, named after the river, but suggested “Norfork” as the name because it was the simplest compounding of “North Fork.” Postal authorities, thinking the word had been misspelled, changed the spelling to “Norfolk”.