could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

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 bike-hike trail.

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 Historical
        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 Preservation Board

        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. 11)
                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 was expected
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 trail.
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.

Cottonmill Lake

Name – Echo Lake --> Cottonmill Lake
        Echo Lake when Canal was constructed

1960 – Purchased by Nebraska from U S Trust for $40,000
        Thought it was purchased earlier – Stone lodge built in 1940
        Game & Parks says 1960

1971 Legislative session - Bill to transfer some State properties to local governments was first introduced
        Attached as a rider to another bill which was vetoed.

1973 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 government ownership
        Stolley Park to Grand Island
        Arnold Recreation Area to Custer County
        Long Bridge Special Use Area to Merrick County
        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 lake
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 of time]

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Revised: 02/08/2018