Bellevue, the oldest continuous settlement in Nebraska’s association with Union Pacific Railroad, was born out of the pursuit to connect this nation via rail travel from sea to shining sea through the Transcontinental Railroad. When it came time to connect Union Pacific’s mainline with the eastern route across the Missouri River, the crossing at Child’s Mill in Bellevue, eight miles to the east of Omaha, served as a viable contender.
Land surveys initiated by Peter A. Dey, financier Thomas C. Durant’s chief engineer, selected two locations specifically around Omaha and Bellevue. Though a few miles longer, Dey preferred the Bellevue location of the two sites due to the grade elevation being much more favorable to railroad building. Supporting Dey’s decision, Bellevue’s mayor David Leach wrote to him on December 21, 1863, offering "2,500 city lots in the city of Bellevue; 2,500 acres of land adjoining said city," for the proposed project.
This was followed by considerable discussion and deliberation by the champions of Union Pacific, Durant, executive Grenville Dodge and engineer James H. Simpson, to decide where the bridge that would eventually serve to connect the country would be built. While the strong arguments from surveyors supported the construction of the bridge in Bellevue, rather than proposed locations to the north, Omaha’s bid of $250,000 was much higher than Bellevue could match and so ended the prospects to have the Union Pacific Railroad cross the Missouri River at Bellevue.
The main line through Bellevue was constructed by the Omaha Southern Railway - a subsidiary of the Missouri Pacific Railroad - in 1892. Missouri Pacific and Union Pacific merged in 1982.