Monday, January 26, 2009

US 20 In Nebraska: Fort Robinson State Park

Sitting in the northwest corner of Nebraska, about three miles west of Crawford Nebraska along US Route 20 is Fort Robinson State Park. It began in 1874 as a military outpost, serving as a temporary cantonment during the turmoil of the frontier Indian Wars, and continued to serve as an outpost until shortly after World War II. During this time and afterwards, it continued to expand in area, eventually becoming one of the largest military installations on the northern Plains. It is known for being the site of the 1879 Cheyenne Outbreak, and for the death of famed Sioux Chief Crazy Horse.

The area now serves as one of Nebraska’s best state parks, covering 22,00 acres. There are plenty of outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy: hiking, camping, horseback riding, train and stagecoach rides, and fishing, plus many other outdoor activities. There is also a lodge, along with some cabins, for those not wanting to “rough it” outdoors.

The park also includes the Fort Robinson Museum which is operated by the State Historical Society which covers the rich history of the fort. The Trailside Museum of Natural History,which is operated by the University of Nebraska, explains the geology and natural history of the region.

Links for Further Information:

Fort Robinson State Park

The Trailside Museum of Natural History

The Fort Robinson Museum

The US Route 20 Blog homepage can be found here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

US20 In Illinois: Elgin May Rename to Honor MLK Jr.

Here’s a story about the work of one woman to get a stretch of US Route 20 in Elgin, Illinois renamed to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

US 20 may be named for MLK Jr. in Elgin
January 13, 2009

ELGIN -- What began as one resident's proposal to honor the contribution of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is now in the hands of state lawmakers.

It was about one year ago when longtime resident and city Human Relations Commissioner Ina R. Dews first proposed renaming a street after the civil rights leader.

The idea was picked up by area leaders, who spoke out last January in favor of designating a street after King, but little was heard about the matter in the months that followed.

In April, state Rep. Ruth Munson, R-Elgin, submitted a resolution to rename Route 20, currently known as the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial Highway, as Martin Luther King Memorial Highway, a stretch of road that runs from Shales Parkway to the border of Pingree Grove near Rein­king Road.

She said Monday the legislation is expected to be read today before the House of Representatives, where it likely will come to a vote.

If passed, Munson said it would be up to the Illinois Department of Transportation to provide the signage indicating the name change.

She said the movement of the resolution was to have it passed in time for the upcoming Martin Luther King Day celebration, scheduled for Monday, Jan. 19.

"Of course that was always a factor in trying to move the legislation along so that this weekend, it could be at least announced," she said.

The Federal Highway Administration has estimated hundreds of cities across the country have named streets after King. In 1968, Chicago became the first with the designation of a Martin Luther King Drive on the city's South Side.

City Manager Olufemi Folarin said Monday the decision to rename a state-run road as opposed to a city street came down to logistics.

"It's much easier to do that because you don't have businesses with a Route 20 address," he said. "So you'll won't inconvenience residents and businesses by having them change their addresses and spend money for new stationery and those kind of things."

The resolution is one of Munson's final acts as one of the area's state representatives, a position she has held since 2002, when she was first appointed to the seat after the death of Doug Hoeft who died in office. Munson won re-election in 2004 and 2006, but lost her seat to incoming state Rep. Keith Farnham last November.

The US Route 20 Blog homepage can be found here.

Friday, January 9, 2009

US20 In Wyoming: The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody

If your driving to Yellowstone National Park from the east, US Route 20 goes through the city of Cody, Wyoming. And Cody, Wyoming is synonymous with William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody, probably the most famous figure from the old American West .

The town was named for him when it was founded in 1896. After all, he did help found the city. So it’s also fitting that the town be the location for The Buffalo Bill Historical Center and Museum which gives a history not only of Buffalo Bill, but life in the American West. The museum also says:

"The collections of the Buffalo Bill Museum interpret the history of the American cowboy, dude ranching, Western conservation, frontier entrepreneurship and, perhaps most importantly, the source of our concepts about the West. The museum records how Buffalo Bill, in an age without television or motion pictures, became the world's foremost communicator about the American West. "

The Historical Center is located on US Route 20, which is called Sheridan Avenue in that area, running concurrently with US 16 and US 14. The Center is really a group of museums:

The Buffalo Bill Museum
The Whitney Gallery of Western Art
The Plains Indian Museum
The Cody Firearms Museum
The Draper Museum of Natural History
The Harold McCracken Research Library

If you're on US 20 coming from the east and headed to Yellowstone, make a point to spend some time in Cody and at the historical center/museum. It is an interesting slice of American history that shouldn't be missed.

Further Reference:

The US Route 20 Blog homepage can be found here.