Central Platte Valley

Here in Dawson County, much of the early history is concerned with the pioneer trails to the west. The Mormon Trail to Utah and the first transcontinental railroad passed through here on the north side of the Platte River; the Oregon Trail and the Pony Express followed the south side of the Platte. Indian trouble was not uncommon here in the early days of settlement. The Plum Creek Massacre occurred in 1864 when Sioux Indians attacked a wagon train, killing several men and taking prisoners at a site near here in Phelps County. Also near here, in 1867 a group of Cheyenne led by Chief Turkey Leg cut the telegraph line, derailed a locomotive, and killed several Union Pacific Railroad employees. The Army's Pawnee Indian Scouts, commanded by Major Frank North, came to the rescue and drove away the hostile Cheyenne. Permanent settlements began to appear after the construction of the railroad. One of the earliest of these was Plum Creek, later renamed Lexington. The first settlers moved there from a stage station on the south side of the river shortly before the coming of the railroad.



Rest area near mile marker 226, I-80 Eastbound, Cozad