[from BCHS Archives file]
Hub photo and
Property deeds went from Burlington to State Game & Parks
R. E. Caldwell family donated $10,000 to help pay for it.
Minden area raised $7,599 for planks to put on the bridge
Project of removing rails & putting down planks expected to
take two years
Roger Sykes was Superintendent of Kearny State Park at that
Fund Raising flier by Ft. Kearney Preservation,
Restoration & Development Board:
Route From Ft. Kearny County Recreation area to I-80
1.8 miles long
North end access from Kearney east on 11th Street to a
public access road
Hub article: (undated)
Goal of $17,000 to purchase land and develop it
Ft. Kearny Trail Fund Committee
Beverly Kimball, chair
Jeff Jorgensen [DED]
D. E. McGregor [Gibbon]
Art Pierce [representing the Kearney Recycling Center]
Two bridges across the Platte
Hub article Monday, April 11, 1977
Donor gave $10,000 for trail
R. E. Caldwell, founder of Caldwell Manufacturing
Burlington offered land for sale for $10,000 last week.
Decision to buy had to be made by Apr. 8. First National
Bank agreed to loan the money to the Ft. Kearny Preservation
Board while they got a fund drive going. Soon after they
organized, Caldwell offered his $10,000 gift.
Railroad had already taken bids on rail salvage and bridge
$1,000 was donated by the Kearney Recycling Center.
Hub article Friday, April 3, 1981
reflects Unique History
By Alice Howell
Trail within original
boundaries of original Ft. Kearney reservation established
South end of trail is on the Oregon Trail, Pony Express,
route and the first telegraph line.
North end on Mormon Trail, California Trail, Overland trail.
Segment of first
Burlington route Nebraska Burlington and Missouri River
Act of Congress May 6, 1870 authorized this railroad line to
connect with the UP at or near the Ft Kearney Military
Fact that Ft. Kearny was
the only point west of the Big Blue River having a name and
being shown on the maps in that vicinity probably had much
to do with this selection T E Calvert, former general
supervisor of the B & MR RR wrote in letter dated May 22,
Construction began from
Plattsmouth early in 1870.
No bridge across the Missouri so construction materials had
to be ferried across.
This was first railroad bridge across the Platte except for
a short time at the east edge of the state.
Reconstruction has been
necessary through the years
1. For maintenance
2. To conform with changing channels in the Platte
Original length of south bridge was 560 feet. Present bridge
built in 1928 is 962 feet long.
Original length of north bridge was 1820 feet. Present
bridge built in 1915 is 340 feet. 42 feet filled in 1916 to
make it 298 feet.
Hub article Friday, April 10, 1981
Helps New Bike Trail
By Bev Kimball
In 1872 24 miles of track
were built from Kenesaw to Kearney.
Nov. 3, 1976 last train
Mar. 25, 1977 Abandoned, up for sale to adjacent land
owners along the right-of-way
Two weeks allowed for bids and purchase
Ft. Kearny Preservation, Restoration, and Development Board
wanted 1.8 miles for a bike-hike trail. Concerned citizens
and organizations requested the Interstate Commerce
Commission reconsider the environmental impact on this
section of the Platte. The Commission ordered them to cease
and desist from salvage activities or dismantling of
right-of-way and bridges.
Immediately Ft. Kearny
Preservation, Restoration, and Development Board and members
of the Buffalo and Kearney County Historical Societies and
other interested citizens formed a fund raising committee to
save the bridges.
State agencies could not by law acquire land without
legislative permission. Martin Kahle, supported by Ron Cope,
introduced a bill to allow Game & Parks Commission to obtain
title to 1.8 miles of abandoned railroad right-of-way. LB527
passed on a 29-1 vote on April 15, 1977.
R E. Bob Caldwell
presented a check to the Preservation Board on Apr. 11. On
April 16 Burlington Northern acknowledged receipt of $10,000
and was submitting the purchase agreement to management. On
April 24 William Meier presented the deed to the Game &
Parks Commission along with the balance of funds raised for
development of the trail. The deed retained salvage rights
for ties and rails.
Summer 1977 delays by
Burlington in getting the ties and rails picked up
Fall 1977 roadbed
grading completed by a Ft. Kearny crew
Early summer 1979
pressure treated lumber ordered
Nov. 9 1979 lumber
Dec. 1979 historical
marker installed between Lowell and Newark where railroad
crossed Highway 10
Summer, 1980 12-member
Youth Conservation Corps crew with 2 supervisors worked 6
weeks on south bridge putting in planking and railing. No
power tools could be used so all planks had to be sawed by
hand and all bolt holes drilled by hand. Only two of the
youths had ever worked with tools. 5,210 bolts & 950 pounds
of nails. All but a few feet of planking were done on the
first 962 foot bridge by fall.
Summer, 1981 YCC program
extended to work on the north 298-foot bridge.
Hub article May 17, 1981
Railroad Bridges Will Give Access to Platte River Paradise
Nebraska Byways by Tom Allen
Kearney-Kenesaw line was
abandoned in 1976.
Renovation of the two
bridges to be completed this summer
Total 14.4 mile bike-hike
trail from Kearney County Recreation Area to Bassway Strip
Plank floor across the
bridge ties and guard rail on 1000 foot south bridge and 300
foot north channel.
Work was first started by
a 12-member Youth Conservation Corps. crew in summer 1980.
Work on the last span done by 6-member crew. Plans at that
time were to blacktop the entire route.