Posts Tagged ‘Nebraska’

Nebraska’s 1733 Ranch in 1915

November 1, 2016

A century ago, Lincoln Highway tourists crossing Nebraska often stopped five miles west of Kearney for a photo at the 1733 Ranch. Its sign “1733 miles to Frisco, 1733 miles to Boston” was iconic … except that both mileages were wrong and the Lincoln Highway never went to Boston.


The 1915 LHA guidebook lists Kearney as 1752 miles from San Francisco and 1632 miles from New York City. So why 1733, and how did Kearney come to promote itself as the “Midway City”?

History professor John T. Bauer wrote in the Summer 2015 issue of Nebraska History that the 1733 mileage is derived from the railroad route between the two, which the city embraced as early as 1890.

When the LHA movie caravan crossed the country in 1915 to produce a promotion film, hundreds of photos were taken by Edward Holden, secretary to LHA vice president and field secretary Henry C. Ostermann. The above photo then leads to an interesting question; the  1733 Ranch name has long been said to stem from new owners in 1917, but this 1915 photo indicates otherwise.

The modern LHA now sells a CD with 300 of Holden’s photos at the Lincoln Highway Trading Post.

The ranch itself is long gone—only the 1733 Estates remind us of that long-ago era.

Solitude on the Lincoln Highway in Nebraska

August 12, 2016


I don’t post here much any more, finding far more people are in my Facebook LH group. But I’ve always loved this quote from Bellamy Partridge about the solitude in western Nebraska, on a little stretch of Lincoln Highway just off US 30, so I wanted to share it here too….


Small-town Nebraska hotel to be demolished

February 24, 2013

As reported by Nebraska Outback, the town of Brule (west pf Ogalalla) wants to tear down an old hotel along the Lincoln Highway to make way for other businesses. According to KNOP-TV (source of the screen shot below), “A new Community Development Agency in Brule wants to revitalize the downtown area, starting with this old hotel building on 2nd and State streets.”

LH_NB_Brule hotel

Although no plan or even interest in the location is mentioned, the agency official nonetheless says a replacement “will be a nice looking structure that will start bringing in tax base. That basically helps all those entities that are dependent on upon tax income.”

It is unfortunate that when a structure looks old or in disrepair that so many want to demolish, when it is just those structures, restored or not, that  give a community its character. This sense of heritage is exactly what people come to such towns looking for, not chain businesses that can be found anywhere.

2013 Lincoln Highway travel guide for Nebraska

January 25, 2013


NB_LH_2013 guide

The Nebraska Lincoln Highway Scenic and Historic Byway Association has published a Centennial Travel Guide to promote attractions along the Lincoln Highway. Nebraska’s portion of the coast-to-coast road 450 miles, makes it the state’s longest byway. Print versions are available or see it instantly online HERE.

Sarah Focke, LH byway president, says “The centennial of the Lincoln Highway in 2013 will mean increased tourism…. This will help them visit all the hidden treasures located along the way.”

The guide includes historical information about the highway and key byway attractions and historical sites, maps to find lodging, meals and entertainment and a schedule of activities along the way.

Copies of the travel guide are available in the 36 communities across the byway, or for more information, visit

Shelton Lincoln Highway Festival on Sunday

July 27, 2012

The 15th annual Lincoln Highway Festival and Car Show is set for this Sunday in Shelton, Nebraska, which bills itself as the “Lincoln Hi-way Capital” of the state. As reported in the Grand Island Independent, festivities include a car show, antique tractor display, live music, and a photo contest on display at the Lincoln Highway Center. The festival is sponsored by the Shelton Historical Society.

Lunch served at the American Legion Hall will include sloppy joes, Polish dogs, chips, drinks, and pie. The United Methodist Men will be serving homemade ice cream at the north end of Main Street. Organizer Cyndy Ryan said a new addition to this year’s festival will be an antique tractor drive from Shelton to Gibbon and back.

EPA advice for Sutherland NE gas stations

April 26, 2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 announced that the Village of Sutherland, Nebraska, recently was given technical assistance in the form of a comprehensive report for redeveloping a number of former gas stations in its downtown. Most notable is c 1930 cottage station. There is a beautiful photo of it online by photographer Jeffrey Bebee; click his photo to access it, and go to his site to see more:

According to the EPA:

At the core of the technical assistance are four abandoned gas stations located along U.S. Highway 30, which runs through downtown Sutherland and is the former Lincoln Highway. The abandoned gas stations may pose potential environmental and public health hazards due to underground storage tanks that remained after the stations closed. By addressing the tanks, including potential contamination and liability issues, these sites can be made viable for reuse that benefits the community while removing community eyesores and transforming the sites into community assets. The redevelopment of these sites can spur further revitalization in the area.

“The technical assistance provided to the Village of Sutherland allows the community leaders to restore four Brownfields properties to beneficial use for the community,” said Karl Brooks, EPA Region 7 Administrator. “This is a clear example that shows how being environmentally conscious can bring positive growth and development for our small rural communities.”

Nebraska Archway gets repro Hammer Motel sign

October 12, 2011

A former Kearney icon has been replicated at the Great Platte River Road Archway. The Kearney Hub reports that the archway now displays a Hammer Motel sign, a replica of a much larger sign that once stood at the hotel on US 30 at 19th Ave on the west side of Kearney. Ronnie O’Brien, director of education and the Nebraska director for the Lincoln Highway Association, said the Hammer Motel sign was known across the country. The Hammer family operated the motel from 1947 to 1987. It then served as University of Nebraska at Kearney student housing until 1995, when it was razed. A historical marker commemorating a Lincoln Highway Seedling Mile was dedicated in April at the site of the motel.

I first reported on the Hammer Motel in 2008. (click for link)

Shady Bend station restored and back in business

July 18, 2011

The Grand Island Independent reports that Shady Bend, an old roadside business along the Lincoln Highway in central Nebraska, has been restored and is again serving customers on the east end of Grand Island. I reported on the plans two years ago on this blog. The images below are from the site’s Facebook page.

From the news report:

Shady Bend, once the site of an old-time tourist court, restaurant and store at Highway 30 and Shady Bend Road, has been reopened as a restaurant…. H.O. “Doc” Woodward built the original Shady Bend in the late 1920s after returning from a family trip to Arizona. Doc also donated the land for the first airport in Grand Island. Shady Bend has been passed down in the family to Craig Woodward, the third generation at Shady Bend….

He said Shady Bend was once a meeting place for farmers and everyone passing through. Since there were hardly any phones, people knew who was going to be there and could leave messages for when they arrived. It was a general store that had a lot of different people coming in and out.

“Not only is it historical, it was a fun place to go,” said Craig’s wife, Karen Woodward. “We want to be able to share the history with the people around here.”… The Woodwards started their restoration in 2008 but were delayed by family illness. Things picked back up in January 2010.

“Obviously, the plumbing, heating and electrical is all new and up to code,” Craig said. “We have a new full kitchen, but other than that, there haven’t been any changes. It’s true to what the State Historical Society has for requirements.”

Shady Bend opened its doors to the public on Tuesday serving pop, candy bars, beer, burgers and Italian food….

“I remember when I was 5 years old, my mom used to clean the cabins [now gone] and Fritz, Craig’s father, would pick me up from school and bring me back here,” [one patron said]. “I played on the merry-go-round and fished in the sand pit across the highway.”

Hours are 11 am to 10 pm Tues through Sat, and noon to 10 pm Sundays.

Christmas at Cody's 1880s mansion & barn

December 13, 2010

Visitors can again enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas at the Cody ranch with a tour of Buffalo Bill’s home on Friday, December 17 from 5:30 pm-8 pm.

The 1886 mansion, 1887 horse barn, log cabin, and outbuildings are all decorated with lights. The mansion will have 18 lighted and decorated Christmas trees and decorations in the interior. There will be a large lighted and decorated Christmas tree in the barn where visitors can make their own ornament to hang on the tree. Santa Claus will be there for the children, Buffalo Bill will talk to visitors, and music will flow from the old piano in the mansion. Outside there will be roasted chestnuts, hot apple cider, and cookies. Draft horse-drawn hay rack rides will also be available, weather permitting. Admission is $5 per person at the door, children 12 and younger are free. Park entry permit required.

Buffalo Bill Ranch SHP
2921 Scouts Rest Ranch Rd
North Platte NE 69101
(308) 535-8035

Review of Shelton's Lincoln Highway Festival

August 11, 2010

The Grand Island Independent ran a nice follow-up to the Lincoln Highway Festival in Shelton, Nebraska, including a walk through of the LH Visitor’s Center there. Following are some parts of their story.

But now as the 80-year-old Nebraska president of the Lincoln Highway Association, Stubblefield is doing more than watching the highway and its traffic — he’s helping preserve the history of its creation.

He helped create the Lincoln Highway Visitor’s Center located at C Street and Highway 30 in Shelton and shares time staffing that center with other volunteers of the Shelton Historical Society. All are just a cell phone away to greet visitors and open the center’s doors at the back of the historic First State Bank building….

Once inside, it’s everything Lincoln Highway.

Pens, postcards, water, letter openers, ashtrays.

There’s Lincoln Highway cigars — just 9 cents in the day — and of course, there’s Burma Shave memorabilia.

“Do you know where Jerome’s Tepee was in Grand Island?” Stubblefield inquired as he pointed to an original black pennant professing the tepee in Grand Island to be in the “center of North America.”

It was right by the big Husker Harvest Days billboard located at Highway 30 and Husker Highway, Stubblefield said, on the north side of the road.

“It was what was called a tourist trap,” he chuckled.

One of the most stunning displays in the visitor’s center is a row of original metal Lincoln Highway mileage markers. They were purchased by the Automobile Club of Southern California and erected along the highway to give travelers an idea of distance to the next stops.

“Brule 1 mile, Big Spring 11 miles,” stated one sign. “Paxton 10 miles, North Platte 43 miles.”

Stubblefield and other members of the association (there are 100 in Nebraska and 1,100 nationwide) have purchased the signs at auctions, antique stores or wherever they are found.