could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

                                  Why is Kearney HERE?

 Why was Kearney located here at this exact spot in what is now central Nebraska?

D N Smith and Asbury Collins arrived at Ft. Kearny in early April 1871
        Blizzard – Same one that greeted the Gibbon Homestead Colony
        Guided by Moses Sydenham
        Crossed the Platte on April 11 to mark the junction site of UP & B&MR

But was it a random selection?

It’s all about transportation.

  I. Early transportation networks in the westward movement
        a. Trails which became roads – Walking – horseback – Wagon routes
        b. Railroads – East of the Mississippi River [See maps pre-Civil War in 1835 and in 1860]
            Chicago became a railroad hub

 II. Land Grant Railroads
        Received alternate sections along the route 20 miles wide
             Railroad went down the middle so they owned property 10 miles on each side

III. Union Pacific “Transcontinental” Railroad
        Began in Omaha – Ended in San Francisco [See map 1870]
        Built through Buffalo County in summer 1866

 IV. Burlington & Missouri River Railroad
        Started in Chicago as C B & Q
        Went west across Illinois, crossed Mississippi River at Burlington, Iowa
        Received land grant to cross Iowa to Red Oak

  V. Burlington’s land grant to cross Nebraska
        a. Goal was to also be a transcontinental railroad in competition with UP
        b. But first, form a junction with Union Pacific (temporary until they finished)
                East of 100th Meridian, farthest south point on UP

 VI. Selecting the spot
        a. Only civilization on map at that time was Ft. Kearny
                Junction had to be in that area

        b. D. N. Smith - Land Agent for B & MR RR
                Born in New York state 1810

        c. William Patterson
                Born in Warsaw, New York in 1831

                Orphaned at 7, raised by uncles - a Judge and an ex-governor of New York

                Chose not to attend college – worked in cousin Augustus Frank’s store
\                        George Frank was a brother, working there also

                Joined “national guard” – well trained in all areas including hydrology
                        Hydrology:  study of the properties, distribution, and effects of water on the earth's surface,
                                          in the soil and underlying rocks

                Now 25 – went to Minneapolis – real estate,
                    interested in potential for water power there

                Civil War – wounded twice

                Minneapolis – real estate again

                Go South because of war wounds – went to Iowa near cousin George Frank

                Went to work for Burlington building through Iowa and in Nebraska to Hastings
                    Build northwest to junction - Laid out Lowell

        d. Smith asked Patterson to scope out the land along the UP track

        e. Patterson discovered the underground water reserves

        f. Could not build junction with UP directly north of Ft. Kearny at Kearney Station
                It was on the Ft. Kearny military reservation

        g. Smith went west about 5 miles on the UP route

            Four men filed homestead claims on Section 2 (from present 2nd Ave west to 17th St.)
            Smith purchased Section 1 from the UP (from present 2nd Ave east to Ave N)
            Those in the know thought he would put it in Section 2

            He chose Section 1, his own land, - just east of present Central Ave.

VII. Why was the town at this junction so important?

        100% train passengers going west or east would pass through this spot either on the UP or transferring from Burlington Missouri Rail Road

        People saw the potential business opportunities here

        Not settled by one ethnic group – individuals came from all over

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Revised: 02/18/2017