Nebraska Historical Marker: Central Platte Valley

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NHM_073_02_01_201109.jpg
Historical marker 73: Rest area near mile marker 226, I-80 Eastbound
NHM_181_1_1.jpg
Historical marker 74: Rest area near mile marker 227, I-80 Westbound

Location

Historical marker 73: Rest area near mile marker 226, I-80 Eastbound, Cozad, Dawson County, Nebraska

View this marker's location 40.815469, -99.913949

Historical marker 74: Rest area near mile marker 227, I-80 Westbound, Cozad, Dawson County, Nebraska

View this marker's location 40.811762, -99.900817

View a map of all Nebraska historical markers, Browse Historical Marker Map

Marker Text

Marker 73, I-80 Eastbound

Here in Dawson County, much of the early history is concerned with the pioneer trails to the west. The Mormon Trail to Utah and the first transcontinental railroad passed through here on the north side of the Platte River; the Oregon Trail and the Pony Express followed the south side of the Platte.

Indian trouble was not uncommon here in the early days of settlement. The Plum Creek Massacre occurred in 1864 when Sioux Indians attacked a wagon train, killing several men and taking prisoners at a site near here in Phelps County. Also near here, in 1867 a group of Cheyenne led by Chief Turkey Leg cut the telegraph line, derailed a locomotive, and killed several Union Pacific Railroad employees. The Army's Pawnee Indian Scouts, commanded by Major Frank North, came to the rescue and drove away the hostile Cheyenne.

Permanent settlements began to appear after the construction of the railroad. One of the earliest of these was Plum Creek, later renamed Lexington. The first settlers moved there from a stage station on the south side of the river shortly before the coming of the railroad.

Marker 74, I-80 Westbound

Here in Dawson County, much of the early history is concerned with the pioneer trails to the west. The Mormon Trail to Utah and the first transcontinental railroad passed through here on the north side of the Platte River; the Oregon Trail and the Pony Express followed the south side of the Platte.

Indian trouble was not uncommon here in the early days of settlement. The Plum Creek Massacre occurred in 1864 when Sioux Indians attacked a wagon train, killing several men and taking prisoners at a site near here in Phelps County. Also near here, in 1867 a group of Cheyenne led by Chief Turkey Leg cut the telegraph line, derailed a locomotive, and killed several Union Pacific Railroad employees.

The town of Cozad, near here, lies directly on the 100th Meridian, considered an important goal in the building of the first transcontinental railroad. When the tracks reached this point in 1866, some 250 businessman, senators, congressmen and other notables came here to celebrate. The 100th Meridian is often cited as the "line of aridity," west of which rainfall is usually insufficient to support non-irrigated agriculture.

Further Information

Greetings_from_Cozad.jpg
Frank_North.jpg

Bibliography

Marker program

See Nebraska Historical Marker Program for more information.