It was going to be over 500 miles to Fort Robinson, and I knew I wasn't going to drive that in one day. So taking my time, I decided to take the back roads and see what I might see.
First stop, was in Frankfort, KS, where I had lunch with another of my RVing friends. Knowing she lived somewhere in the area, I called, but had to leave a message. Luckily, she called me back when I was about 5 miles south of where she lived. Perfect timing. After lunch, I was back on the road, headed towards Nebraska.
This is Hollenberg Station, established in 1858 as a store and rest stop for those traveling west on the Oregon-California Trail. In the early 1960s, it was also a stop along the Pony Express Route.
They carried an assortment of items. Knives, cards and tobacco for the Pony Express riders; nails, wagon parts, medicines and sewing supplies for those on the Oregon-California Trail; and whiskey, grain and other essential items for those who had settled in the area. They were the early Wal-Mart of its day.
They offered meals and a bed. An early day Motel Six?
I know settlers used root cellars to keep things cool, but I had never seen one buried beneath the kitchen floor. It was convenient, I can say that for sure.
I stayed overnight in Berwyn, NE, a community of 136 (according to the sign).
They did have a nice city park.
But the businesses had all closed down, and the buildings were pretty much empty and boarded up. It looked like a few people used the buildings as storage. There was a nice residential community, that I suspect, was a bedroom community for the next larger down town the road, Broken Bow.
Yes, Virginia, there really are trees in Nebraska. I remember stopping here years ago, on my way between Oklahoma and Nebraska for family reunions. I just stopped long enough to stretch my legs and take Fancy for a walk.
Seemingly out in the middle of nowhere, is this stretch of National Forest. And it even has a nice campground, too.
The Middle Loup River runs through the NF, and next to the campground.
Another ghost town: Antioch. This community grew to 2000 when WWI broke out and we were cut off from our European suppliers of Potash. The Nebraska Sand Hill Lakes provided the means for large scale production to begin in 1916. By 1918, five plants provided potash for our countries needs. But, once the war was over, potash could once again be supplied cheaper from France and Germany, and the last plant closed here in 1921.