Great Platte River Road Museum

Great Platte River Road Museum

THIS HISTORY MUSEUM is striking because of its huge arched-bridge construction and its unique location spanning the interstate freeway. That's too impressive to pass... so I had to stop and investigate. The museum exhibits explained (through detailed stories) why the Great Platte River road was important by settlers going to Oregon, California and Utah, including the dangers and personal hardships involved.  

Museum exhibits

Museum exhibits

Other key transportation events are highlighted -- the pony express, overland stagecoach, transcontinental railroad, and Lincoln Highway construction (the first transcontinental road).

For comparison, the exhibits describe modern developments such as the interstate highway and fiber optics as other ways to "travel" across the U.S. They compare the months of travel by covered wagons (and hikers!) to the mere seconds for fiber optics to cover the same distance.

Kearney, Nebraska, is located nearby and is noted for three things: its university campus UNK, the Platte River emigrant trail, and the annual sandhill crane migration. 

University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) 

University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) 

Kearney was originally called Dobytown and renamed after nearby Fort Kearny, an army outpost on the Oregon Trail. The second "e" was added by postmen who consistently misspelled the town name. So thanks to the postal service, the modification just stuck. Like so many other Nebraskan towns, Kearney steadily grew as a result of the influence of the railroad until it prospered as a county government center complete with hospital, university, schools, and active population of 32,000+.  Not bad for a misspelled namesake!

Sandhill crane migration

Sandhill crane migration

The Platte River wetlands also provide a feverish activity each spring, as a half million sandhill cranes stop over on their annual migration from the southern US and Mexico to the Rockies and Canada. The cranes stop to rest here for two to four weeks before moving on, and the best time to see them is from late March to early April. Hmmm...So I just missed them. Maybe next year!

Sandhill convention! 

Sandhill convention! 

Week 19,  1516 Miles,  Weather 75F🌤 

Posted
AuthorRich Monroe