Otoe is a village in Otoe County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 171 at the 2010 census. The village was established in 1880 on the proposed line of the Missouri Pacific Railroad from Kansas City to Omaha. The town was originally named Berlin; many of the early inhabitants were German Lutherans. In 1896, when the population reached 200, the town incorporated. It survived and rebuilt after a tornado in 1913 destroyed most of its businesses.

 

The entry of the United States into World War I was followed by hostility toward all things German, which extended to a town that bore the name of Germany’s capital. A 1918 series of fires that destroyed a block of the town’s main street was attributed to anti-German crusaders. In October 1918, less than a month before the war’s end, the town’s name was changed to its current Otoe.

 

Passenger rail service to Otoe was discontinued in 1932; despite this setback, the town continued to grow, reaching its maximum historical population of 298 in the 1940 census. Following World War II, the population began to decline. In 1958, the high school was closed; in the 1960s, the railroad line through Otoe was abandoned.