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North Platte Nebraska

railroad town river trails historical museum and buffalo bill ranch park

canteen platformNorth Platte is in southwestern Nebraska at the confluence of the North and South Platte Rivers. It was established in 1868 when the Union Pacific Railroad was extended to that point; it was named from the North Platte River.

The Platte River originates in the state of Nebraska and is about 310 miles – 500 km – long. The Platte is a tributary of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers which flows to the Gulf of Mexico.

platte river watershedRiver Valley Trails played an important role in the westward expansion of the United States, providing the route for several major emigrant trails, including the Oregon, California, Mormon and Bozeman Trails. The French were the first Europeans to reach the Platte. The North Platte River is navigable over most of its length at high water by canoes, kayaks and rafts.

Bailey Yard is the world’s largest. The Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center is an eight-story building which overlooks the expansive classification yard and engine facilities.

golden spike tower, north platteThe Lincoln County Historical Museum contains a display detailing the history of the North Platte Canteen, which greeted 6.5 million service personnel from Christmas Day 1941 through April 1, 1946. It also contains a Prairie Village with local landmark homes and a Pony Express station and pioneer church.

Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park is located near here, a Nebraska living history park about Buffalo Bill Cody. The park includes his actual house known as Scout’s Rest Ranch.

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