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The Old Fort Kearny (Nebraska City) Road

The "Old Fort Kearny" or "Nebraska City Road" was a major route for freighters, soldiers, and
goldseekers between 1849 and 1866. The road was also known as the "Oxbow Trail," because it
looped north from the site of Old Fort Kearny (future Nebraska City) to follow the south bank of
the Platte River. It connected with the main overland trail a few miles east of New Fort Kearny.

Nebraska City freighters first used the Old Fort Kearny Road in the late 1850s to supply western
military posts and mining camps. By 1861 a more direct route, the Nebraska City-Fort Kearny
Cutoff, was opened. The cutoff joined the old Fort Kearny Road five miles northeast of here.

Overland freighting reached its peak in 1865 when more than 44 million pounds of supplies were
shipped from Nebraska City. The completion of the Union Pacific Railroad across Nebraska
signaled the end of freighting, but local settlers continued to use the Old Fort Kearny Road for
many years. Today, Hall County's "Platte River Road" follows the old trail through the county.

Hall County Historical Society
Nebraska State Historical Society
Nebraska Department of Roads
U.S. 34/U.S. 281, West of Doniphan, Amick acres subdivision, Lot 10
Hall County
Marker 388

 


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Last updated 9 June 2004

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