You are overlooking original prairie never broken by a plow. Nebraska looked much like this 200 years ago before the white men came: Grasses on which buffalo, elk, deer and antelope fed; ground cover for homes for quail, grouse, and prairie chickens; pure spring-fed streams where thirsty animals and birds could drink and where fish spawned; areas where wild strawberries, grapes, plum and chokecherry bushes bore fruit; walnut, cottonwood, and willow trees provided shade; where colorful flowers bloomed--wild indigo, purple coneflower, goldenrod, daisy fleabane, ground plum, dogtooth, and crowsfoot violets. A trail once used by the Pawnee Indians is now U.S. Highway 77. The area was shared with the Oto tribe. To the east in 1856 John Prey, A. J. and Richard Wallingford, and others became some of Lancaster County's first settlers. A few miles to the north, the Fort Kearny Cut-off carried wagon trains westward during the 1850's and 1860's. Sod like you see was cut and used by settlers to build homes. This marker rests on railroad land purchased by William Mitchell in the early 1880's and has been preserved by his descendants including his grandson, Charlton Mitchell.
Elinor L. Brown
Nebraska State Historical Society
Rest Area south of Crete Corner, Hwy 77