Acquisition of the Ft. Kearny Bike/Hike Trail
Original Burlington & Missouri River Railroad had become a spur line
between Kenasaw and Kearney
Acquisition Time Line – Many Events in a short time
Nov. 3, 1976 – last train
Mar. 25, 1977 – Abandoned, offered to sell to adjacent land owners
along the right-of-way
Two weeks (Apr. 8) allowed to submit
bids and purchase
Ft. Kearny Preservation, Restoration,
& Development Board
[Advisory to State Game & Park Commission]
wanted 1.8 miles from Recreation area across the Platte to I-80 for
Request to the Interstate Commerce Commission
[a US regulatory commission,
1887-1995, which regulated railroads]
reconsider the environmental impact
on this section of the Platte if bridge was removed
Commission ordered Burlington to cease and
desist from salvage activities or dismantling of right-of-way and bridges.
Ft. Kearny Preservation Board and members of the Buffalo and Kearney County
Societies and other interested
citizens set about forming a fund raising committee to “save the bridges”.
About April 4, 1977 (Week and half after land was offered for sale)
Burlington set as price on this 1.8 miles at $10,000
Decision to buy still had to be made
by Apr. 8.
First National Bank, Kearney, agreed to loan the money to the Ft. Kearny
while they got a fund drive going.
Ft. Kearny Board told Burlington they would buy the land but…
State agencies could not by law acquire land without legislative permission.
Sen. Martin Kahle, supported by Sen. Ron Cope, introduced a bill to allow
Game & Parks
Commission to obtain title to 1.8 miles of abandoned railroad right-of-way.
April 11, 1977 - R. E. Caldwell family donated $10,000.
(Check presented to Board Apr.
R. E. Caldwell, founder of Caldwell Manufacturing in Kearney
Fund raising committee had raised
$7,599 for planks and guardrails to put on the bridge
Much of this from Minden area
$1,000 was donated by the Kearney Recycling Center.
Roger Sykes was Superintendent of Kearny State Park at that time.
Project of removing ties & rails, putting down planks, & preparing the trail
to take two years
April 15, 1977 - LB527 passed on a 29-1 vote.
Preservation Board had money but
could not buy the land until now
April 16, 1977 - Burlington Northern acknowledged receipt of $10,000
and was submitting the purchase agreement to management.
April 24, 1977 - William Meier presented the deed to the Game & Parks
Commission along with the balance of funds raised for development of the
Burlington retained salvage rights for ties and rails according to the deed.
This was one month after the Burlington abandoned the spur & offered the
land for sale.
– Echo Lake --> Cottonmill Lake
Echo Lake when Canal was constructed
– Purchased by Nebraska from U S Trust for $40,000
Thought it was purchased earlier –
Stone lodge built in 1940
Game & Parks says 1960
Legislative session - Bill to transfer some State properties to local
governments was first introduced
Attached as a rider to another bill
which was vetoed.
Legislative session – New bill on its own approved by 46-0 vote with
emergency clause to take affect as soon as the governor signed the bill.
State Recreation Areas transferred from State Game Commission to local
Stolley Park to Grand Island
Arnold Recreation Area to Custer
Long Bridge Special Use Area to
Cottonmill Lake to Kearney and
Buffalo County - 107 acres
May 1, 1973
– County Board approved the Cooperative
Agreement with the city.
(City had already approved it a few days earlier.)
Vote was 6-1
he thought we have enough parks in the Kearney area.
[Since then Kearney has added 4
parks – Baldwin, Harvey, West Lincoln Way, Yanney]
Two Early references to cotton mill
1905 – 19 ½ lb silver bass caught there and placed in basin of a
fountain at Kearney
Grocery company in downtown Kearney
[silver bass aka white bass, native
to Midwest, west of Appalachians]
Nov. 15, 1899 - Jan 9, 1900 – Another murder [not included, ran out