Where We Be
We've driven under this wooden archway crossing over I-80
numerous times before and finally decided to stop and have a look
Great Platte River Road Archway, NE
This wooden archway with the big name is
located on I-80 near Kearney, Nebraska. Over
the years it's become something of a roadside
attraction simply by virtue of its being there --
along the lines of "If you build it, they will
come." You can't help but see it as you drive
along the interstate. After numerous times of
passing under it without stopping, we finally
paused to have a look. Admission is steep at
$12 each but the self- guided audio tour is fun
and does a pretty good job of summarizing life
in Nebraska from pioneer times to the present.
Exhibits run the gamut, from the olden days of
covered wagons to the transcontinental rail-
road, and from the first travelers along the old
Lincoln Highway to modern speedsters on the
superhighway. Worth a stop? We'd say yes.
Outside are symbols of pioneer life in Nebraska
We crossed a bridge over the Platte River
to stretch our legs and have a look around
We paid $12 each to visit the Archway itself, which contains numerous exhibits chronicling life
along the Platte River over different time periods. You take an escalator to the top to get started.
First come exhibits about pioneer life in the
days of covered wagons (prairie schooners)
These exhibits highlight the different reasons people headed
out west -- from men seeking gold to Mormons seeking Zion
The next series of exhibits focus on the coming of the intercontinental railroad. Fun fact:
"By the 1880s, the Union Pacific was carrying nearly one million people west each year -- three
times as many as those who had come across the continent in 25 years of covered wagon travel."
A final series of exhibits highlight the coming of
the Lincoln Highway and the first tourists out west
The self-guided audio tour is actually pretty interesting as you make your way
from one exhibit to the next. All told it took us about 1½ hours to see the place.
At the end we looked through glass windows at the cars passing below on I-80. A radar
showed how fast each car was going. "They're speeding!" shouted one indignant little boy.