Kearney, Neb., August 21, 2017 – On Friday, August 25 at 5:30, the Archway will host a historic anniversary celebration. We will observe the 107th anniversary of the placing of a historic marker at the spot where the westward trails crossed the Platte River. A ceremony was held and the marker was placed just northwest of historic Fort Kearny and about 1.5 miles southeast of where the Archway currently stands on August 25, 1910.
Participants in the celebration will include the Archway’s 1848 Venture Crew and representatives of Fort Kearny, the Buffalo County Historical Society, the Women’s Relief Corps, the Fort Kearny Chapter of the D.A.R., and over 20 descendants of the 15 people who attended the ceremony at which the marker was placed in 1910.
The wooden sign was meant to be a temporary marker and was placed by members of the Fort Kearney National Park Association, a group of Civil War veterans who came to this area to homestead land and who campaigned to make Fort Kearny a national park. Their effort failed and the permanent stone marker they envisioned was never constructed.
The sign was originally placed on the bank of what was then the south channel of the Platte River on Thursday, August 25, 1910, during the 4th Annual Reunion of the Fort Kearney National Park Association. At that time, a bouquet of flowers was laid at the base of the sign by a representative of the Women’s Relief Corps in a special tribute to the women pioneers who made the journey on the Oregon Trail.
The wooden sign is part of the collection of Don Dingman of Kearney, Nebraska, a local collector of historic memorabilia. The marker is currently on display in the lobby of the Archway, Nebraska’s monument to those who traveled the trail along the Platte River once called the Great Platte River Road and helped to build America.