Avoca, Nebraska

Avoca, Nebraska is a town southwest of Omaha, in eastern Nebraska. Avoca is located in southern Cass County, fifteen miles west of the Missouri River. It is at the crossing of the Missouri Pacific and Wabash railroads.¹

Avoca Today:

According to the 2000 Census, the population of Avoca was 105 households, comprised of 270 people. The population was 51.1% male and 49.9% female. 100% of the population was white/Caucasian and 78% of those above the age of 25 held a high school diploma or higher degree or higher degree. 12% held a Bachelor’s degree or higher. The median household income was $36,250 in 1999.² The most common industries for men in the workforce were construction (28%) and Food (12%). For women the primary industry was Health Care (18%).³

History of Avoca:

Avoca was founded by Amos and Margaret (Calvert) Tefft. Amos Tefft bought land in Cass county in the spring of 1857 and was joined by his family later that year. The town obtained a post office within the first year of settlement, and was named Avoca at some point during this year. The name Avoca supposedly comes from the name of a river in Ireland immortalized by poet Thomas Moore.

There were eighteen families in Avoca by the time the Civil War broke out in 1861, and many from the town joined the Nebraska Militia. After the war, the population of Avoca increased with an influx of settlers, especially of German descent, and the railroad line was built through the town in the 1880's.

The population reached about 300 in the 1890's, but during the late 19th and early 20th centuries various disasters struck, from a diphtheria epidemic to a fire that destroyed a significant part of the town. The population dropped below 200 by the 1930s.

In 1980, Avoca, now boasting a population of 242, gained national recognition when two residents developed their idea for relieving boredom in the dead of winter by holding duck races into the annual "Duck Quack-Off." Participants from far and wide now come to the town on the last Saturday each January to race ducks on the tennis court in the local park. This event raises money for the Avoca fire department.⁴


1. Andreas, A.T. “History of the State of Nebraska.” http://www.kancoll.org/books/andreas_ne/hon_cnty.html (accessed October 12, 2008).
2. U.S. Census Bureau. 2000. “Fact sheet: Avoca, Nebraska.” http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFFacts?_event=ChangeGeoContext&geo_id=16000US3102795&_geoContext=&_street=&_county=avoca%2C+ne&_cityTown=avoca%2C+ne&_state=&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&ActiveGeoDiv=&_useEV=&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010&_submenuId=factsheet_1&ds_name=DEC_2000_SAFF&_ci_nbr=null&qr_name=null&reg=null%3Anull&_keyword=&_industry= (accessed October 12, 2008).
3. "Avoca, Nebraska." 2008. http://www.city-data.com/city/Avoca-Nebraska.html (accessed October 12, 2008).
4. Drake, Cindy Steinhoff. 2005. "Avoca: Cass County." http://www.casde.unl.edu/history/counties/cass/avoca/ (accessed October 12, 2008).