could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

The Covered Wagon

Constructed in 1932

Rev. & Mrs. Shaw
Purchased property after returning from China

        missionaries for Seventh Day Adventists
Had home-made gifts to sell
Buffalo burgers and buttermilk
Seven years Mrs. Shaw developed a food of vegetables, tasted like chicken
        Went to Washington, D. C. to patent it

Sold property to Boyd & Lenora McClara

Added wild animals buffalo, bear, fox, skunk, snakes in a jar, coyote, wolf
Charged admission children helped
Built a house next door
Children grew up, ready for college moved to Arizona

Sold property to Nick & Rose Ponticello

Had auction, sold animals
Established the Souvenir Shop

Tourist attractions on Lincoln Highway and Highway 30 before interstate.
        Covered Wagon

        1733 sign
        Midway Hotel & soldiers monument

Lincoln Highway

Lincoln Highway by Dorothy Weyer Creigh

Nebraska early 1900s - all those new automobiles - few places to drive them
A few blocks in town, maybe

Organized clubs -- Americans do, you know - set up excursions

Hastings Automobile Club, 1910,
        went all the way to Harvard and back, fifty automobiles, in a single day
Members went from one town to another in caravan to boost each other out of deep ruts, push each other up steep grades

The automobiles were ready. But the roads weren't.
        Nebraska legislatures of 1869, 1871, and 1873 - section lines were to be public roads
                Mostly trails, adequate for horses and slow-moving wagons
                Not good enough for automobiles - capable of speeds as high as 35 mph.

1909 - total road mileage in Nebraska - 80,338
        77 counties reported no improved roads at all.
        Road repair was a township responsibility.

Highway Associations followed auto associations - Got support from towns on their routes.

Good Roads Association

 About 1911 The O-L-D highway (for Omaha, Lincoln, Denver)
1920 became the D-L-D, from Detroit to Denver; it is now known as US 6
Proposed a book telling about turns and grades, with pictures of landmarks
        So travelers could "easily follow the highway through the state

        without asking questions of anybody."

Lincoln Highway Association 

Nebraska branch one of the most active in the country.
New York City to San Francisco, in Nebraska following the Oregon Trail
Passed through 15 counties, 53 towns.

Was a marvel of the age, for it had occasional concrete markers identifying

        the highway far better than descriptions of turns at barns or

        cottonwood thickets
Seedling miles - cement manufacturers offered free to any community 3000 barrels Grand Island, Kearney, and Fremont took advantage of the offer.

Taxpayers weren't interested in spending money on roads.

Federal Aid Road Act of 1916 -

o federal funds to match state money
o impetus for early development of roads within the state particularly 

   those highways which were part of an interstate road system.
   US 20, Lincoln highway (30), US 26, US 77, US 81.
o Before numbers, the roads had names
    S-Y-A , for the Seward-York-Aurora route;
    The Harding, Columbus, Grainland, Potash

Touring facilities in city parks to attract motorists. 1920s [Tourist Information Center]
        Bulletin Boards with up-to-date information about road conditions, including detours.
        Fine new graveled roads almost always had road-graders somewhere along their lengths

                hazardous to pass on the narrow roadway;
                after the driver had completed the maneuver he often found himself with a flat
                tire, the grader blade having kicked up glass or nails which caused punctures.
        The gravel pile in the center of the road was another peril, and loose gravel flipped

                many a car which had to brake to negotiate 90-degree turns on the highway.

1926 Nebraska highways were numbered and marked with metal signs
        Gas stations began to distribute free roadmaps.
        Advertising evolved, itinerant painting crews wandering through the countryside offering to paint barns if the farmers would allow such slogans as "Carter's Little Liver Pills" or "Pink Pills for Pale People." A few years later, during the Depression years, drivers and passengers alike chuckled at the Burma-Shave signs
        [Tent City on west edge of Kearney[
        [Cabin camps Cannon Motel other motels Hammer, etc]

Nebraska roads carried heavy traffic - far from adequate, far behind the standards of other states.

Kearney Daily Hub, April 4, 1923 ad - An interesting mix of services as the times changed

Don't Undertake to send your money
When you can buy cheaper and better
in Kearney at the
We are now repairing and oiling har-
ness. Bring it in early.

Kearney Daily Hub, April 2, 1923
        Mr. Jordan, highway commissioner, states that work is progressing favorably on the Lincoln Highway, east. Many farmers have already set back their fences and grading will be started shortly. The farmers have been asked to establish their new fence line not less than eighteen inches inside of the road line, that it may be properly anchored against being dislodged when grading gets under way.

Kearney Daily Hub, April 3, 1923
Five Patrolmen Are Being Used on County Roads
Their duties were listed in this article:

  • drag road after every rain

  • keep ditches clean ad culverts open

  • keep grass and weeds off shoulders and mow inside the fences.

  • maintain guard rails and road markers

  • remove snow when ordered to

  • report accidents, cars without licenses or improper license

  • keep equipment in working order

  • help the traveling public free of charge


Patrol operators Run the road graders
        One township maintains its own roads Shelton Township
        All others contract with the county

Types of roads
Federal highways
        30 original Lincoln Highway
State highways
        44 from across the river to 30 in Kearney?
        10 from across river at Minden interchange, on 30 to Kearney, then north
        40 from 44 northwest through Riverdale, Amherst and Miller
        183 through Elm Creek and Miller north
County roads Not all roads in a township are their responsibility
Township roads Consider bus routes and mail routes



(Material not used on program because of time)

Lincoln Highway by Dorothy Weyer Creigh
Organized clubs - [Kearney to Hastings for air show in 1911 Rains had made the roads bad.

  • Several autos left early. A dozen left but separated after leaving the city

  • The only two to arrive in Hastings together were a car which had broken down and was pulled into town by another Kearney car.

One man reported seven blowouts on one tire on that trip from Kearney to Hastings.]

Lincoln Highway Association - "No other state in the Union has so many miles of level road as the Lincoln Highway -- across our state," said a brochure from the Nebraska branch which
solicited funds in 1914 for planting trees along the roadside.

By 1930's in Nebraska -
        5,000 miles were graveled
        3,300 more were graded
        Only 309 miles were paved.
        Increased federal highway funding during the 1930's for work relief projects

Kearney Daily Hub, April 2, 1923
Hire Highway Patrolmen
        Beginning today the county highway commissioner is starting five highway patrolmen on the job. These men will patrol the federal and state highways, giving them such emergency attention as may become necessary at all times. Last year the county operated with three highway patrols, not considered sufficient to handle the big mileage of roads which much be looked after

Shelton Clipper, April 1925
        The Nebraska Lincoln Highway meeting of good road boosters will be held in Kearney next Wednesday, Apr. 29. Highway authorities of the state will be present to address the gathering and a large attendance is anticipated. Men living in the towns along the route of the Lincoln Highway should be doubly interested and ready to boost for any improvement that can be made. Now that the gasoline tax will provide money with which to improve the roads of the state, the Kearney meeting ought to be an interesting one. Every city, town and village along this great transcontinental highway should be represented. It is expected that a number of Shelton people will go to Kearney for the meeting.

Kearney Daily Hub, Thursday, April 30, 1925
Gravel or Paving on Lincoln Highway for Length if the State
Believe this can be Brought About in a Year

(more than 100 delegates attended this meeting. Discussion included advantages of paving)
        "One point was brought out that will be of particular interest to Kearneyites. It was learned that within ten days or two weeks, when the Lincoln Highway through this county is surfaced with gravel for its entire length and the road to Pleasanton is also surfaced, Buffalo County will be further advanced on gravel surfacing of state aid roads than another county in Nebraska."

Shelton Clipper, May 1925
        The Yant Construction Company is expected to complete gravel surfacing the Lincoln Highway between here and Gibbon in a few more days. The highway has been graveled from Kearney east to a point between Optic and Gibbon. Nine trucks are being used to haul the material onto the road. Much of the gravel has been spread over the highway and travel is continuing over the route as usual. Road men say that when completed this will be one of the best stretches of graveled highway in the state.

The Seedling Mile
The Lincoln Highway was the first planned transcontinental road system

Railroads connected cities and towns.
Miles of unrelated roads leading to railroad centers or market towns.
No system of connecting these roads existed.

Carl G. Fisher - dreamed of a hard-surfaced, all-weather, accurately-signed road extending from coast to coast.

The first idea for financing this road - estimated at $10,000,000 - by asking for donations from the auto manufacturers did not raise enough funds.

The Lincoln Highway Association was formed -memberships offered to the public to raise additional money.

The Lehigh Portland Cement Company also offered to donate a million and a half barrels of cement to be used to create "Seedling Miles" along the route.

A Seedling Mile was a mile of concrete paving along the Lincoln Highway route constructed to show the advantages of paved roads.

Some distance outside a town so a car would have left the smoother hard surface of city blocks and driven on rutted dirt roads before coming onto the smooth paving of the Seedling Mile. At the end of the mile the car was once again on the rough rutted dirt road.

The first Seedling Mile, a 10 foot wide strip of paving one mile long, was completed in October,
        1914, west of DeKalb, Illinois.
Nebraska was next to show interest.
        Grand Island made the first application and completed its Seedling Mile on Nov. 3, 1915.

        Kearney's Seedling Mile was completed on Nov. 6, 1915.

Kearney's Seedling Mile was located on West 24th Street from the tailrace to 30th Ave.
Instead of 10 feet wide, Kearney made theirs 15 feet wide.
The Kearney Commercial Club voted to raise the funds needed.
Dan Quinton was awarded the contract for construction.
W. L. Stickel, local lumber dealer, personally guaranteed $3,000 to get the road started.

Donations included:
16 carloads of cement from St. Louis Portland Cement Works
Grading by the City of Kearney
Hauling of sand and gravel by the State of Nebraska
Half freight charges on hauling the cement by Union Pacific
Steel culverts from Nebraska Steel Culvert Company


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