Like many Nebraska communities, Long Pine’s history is tied to railroad development. When the Fremont, Elkhorn, and Missouri Valley line arrived in 1881, Long Pine became a bustling railroad town.
The Chicago & North Western Railroad (CNW) built a 115-foot tall steel bridge across Long Pine Creek in 1905, and the town became a division point between Norfolk and Chadron. Crews bunked in town, while steam engines were serviced at the roundhouse.
The railroad harnessed the Seven Springs south of town and pumped water to the standpipe providing residents with pure spring water. Freight trains carried goods and livestock to market from surrounding ranches and farms. Five passenger trains per day stopped in Long Pine, bringing many visitors to the annual Chautauqua and the Hidden Paradise resort.
They lodged at Long Pine’s numerous hotels, including the Upstill Hotel and Miller Hotel, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Transferred to Union Pacific in 1984, the last train ran through Long Pine in 1992. Known as the ‘Cowboy Line,’ it is now part of the Cowboy Trail.