Lodgepole, Nebraska

Lodgepole Opera House today

The village of Lodgepole has a long association with transcontinental transportation history. Early on, the area hosted the “Pole Creek No.2 Pony Express Station”. The Union Pacific Railroad came through in 1867 and the community was formally founded.

Pony Express historian Joe Nardone donated this vehicle to the Lodgepole Depot Museum. It traveled 761,327 miles to document Pony Express history.

Pony Express historian Joe Nardone donated this vehicle to the Lodgepole Depot Museum. It traveled 761,327 miles to document Pony Express history.

Pony Express historian Joe Nardone donated this vehicle to the Lodgepole Depot Museum. It traveled 761,327 miles to document Pony Express history.

Lodgepole’s main street moved three different times in the early years, and the route of the Lincoln Highway through town crosses the railroad tracks,

Replica concrete marker in the Lodgepole City Park.

Replica concrete marker in the Lodgepole City Park.

Replica concrete marker in the Lodgepole City Park.

Continuing on the south side of the tracks through town and on county roads. Still standing on the south side are an early grocery store with its accompanying ice house,

Lodgepole Opera House today

Lodgepole Opera House today

Lodgepole Opera House today.

Lodgepole Opera House in History

Lodgepole Opera House in History

Lodgepole Opera House in History.

and of course, the iconic Lincoln Highway landmark Lodgepole Opera House. Note the sign on the side of the Opera House in the historic photo – the ghost of this sign can still be seen.

Tourist Cabins today

Tourist Cabins today

Tourist Cabins today.

Tourist Cabins during the blizzard of 1949

Tourist Cabins during the blizzard of 1949

Tourist Cabins during the blizzard of 1949.

Along Highway 30 can be seen the relics of bygone era tourist cabins.

Lodgepole Depot Museum

Lodgepole Depot Museum

Lodgepole Depot Museum.

Lodgepole Depot in history

Lodgepole Depot in history

Lodgepole Depot in history.

The Lodgepole Depot Museum is filled with early pioneer memorabilia, and the Pony Express Annex houses items donated by Joe Nardone, Pony Express historian who is responsible for the mapping of the entire route and erection of historical markers at the sites of stations.

Lodgepole Depot living quarters

Lodgepole Depot living quarters

Lodgepole Depot living quarters.

An unusual feature of the Lodgepole Union Pacific Depot is that it included living quarters for the station master.

Historic Kripal Garage today

Historic Kripal Garage today

Historic Kripal Garage today.

Kripal Garage in history

Kripal Garage in history

Kripal Garage in history.

The historic Kripal Garage, though privately owned by a classic car enthusiast, is a favorite stop for Lincoln Highway travelers. It is filled with memorabilia dating back to the heyday of the historic road, and brings back nostalgic memories of full service gas stations and main street America car dealerships.

Lodgepole Light and Water, and Village offices

Lodgepole Light and Water, and Village offices

Lodgepole Light and Water, and Village offices.

Historic Light and Water building

Historic Light and Water building

Historic Light and Water building.

The modern Nancy Fawcett Memorial Library hosted the noon business meeting of the Byway Board of Directors, and the Lodgepole Community Hall, a refurbished Legion Hall, was the site of the evening informational meeting. A dozen local residents attended the evening meeting to hear about the history of the Lincoln Highway and the efforts of the Byway to preserve and promote the historic route.

For more photos of Lodgepole, please visit our Facebook page.

On the Road to Lodgepole

It was a beautiful fall day (that turned into a winter storm the next day) for a road trip from North Platte to Lodgepole for the Nebraska Lincoln Highway Historic Byway Board of Directors meeting in mid-November. There are so many iconic sights along the highway, this photo album doesn’t even scratch the surface.

Traveling the Lincoln Highway from North Platte to Lodgepole takes just over two hours, according to Google maps. But when you’re interested in seeing all of the sights along the way, it can take considerably longer. Travelers could easily spend a day in each little town along the Byway, seeking out all of the unique architecture, relics of the Lincoln Highway and the unique ways that small towns are keeping themselves alive and serving their residents.

The Village of Hershey has recently installed a reproduction concrete marker in their city park that abuts the Lincoln Highway.
Hershey SM

Just east of Sutherland you’ll see an unusual sight – Buffalo, apparently guarding a shipping container storage site.
Sutherland Buffalo SM

In Sutherland the community restored a Lincoln Highway era service station and installed a public art project.
Sutherland SM
The tiny village of Paxton, in addition to being the home of the famous watering holes of Ole’s Big Game Lounge and the Windy Gap now has a country store
Paxton Meats and More SM
and has restored their historic railroad depot into a coffee and gift shop.

Paxton Depot SM

The famous cow town of Ogallala boasts Front Street on Highway 30
Front Street 1 SM

and the refurbished Spruce Street Station along the original 1913 Lincoln Highway alignment through town.
Spruce Street Station SM

You know you’re traveling in the footsteps of the pioneers of the great western migration when you pass the historical marker for the famed California Hill.
California Hill SM

Big Springs is justifiably proud of their pioneer heritage as can be seen in the restoration of the Phelps Hotel
Big Springs Phelps Hotel. SMjpg

and the historical markers in their city park.
Big Springs History SM

There is so much more to see along the Lincoln Highway, and these few photographs have only scratched the surface of a very short stretch. When making a trip along the Byway, slow down and take the time to explore the quaint, and sometimes quirky, little towns along the road. Get up late and have breakfast in a local eatery, take a leisurely lunch – maybe a picnic in a park, and stop early so you have a chance to explore the community.
Along the Lincoln, the journey is the destination!