America's Main Street, the Lincoln Highway, was the first paved coast-to-coast roadway, spanning 3,380 miles through 13 states, connecting New York to San Francisco and all the towns in between.
In 1915, the Lincoln Highway was a bold, innovative plan, mapped across the U.S. yet years from being fully paved. There were sections of dirt, sand and even pasture crudely marked only by posts, poles and hand-written signs.
But once the idea of traveling independently became a reality there was no holding America back. The freedom of the open road was intoxicating and for five decades, before the development of the Interstate system, the Lincoln Highway was indeed America’s very busy Main Street, with Nebraska right in the center.
In 2006 the Nebraska Department of Roads approved the extension and renaming of the Platte River Scenic Trails Byway to the Lincoln Highway Scenic & Historic Byway. The byway now stretches from the western Wyoming/Nebraska border eastward through Nebraska on US 30. This byway passes through the Elkhorn area near Omaha, and ends in Blair, Nebraska, near the Iowa border. It follows the Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, Pony Express Route, Union Pacific Railroad and the Historic Lincoln Highway, and parallels Interstate 80 from the Wyoming border east through the Grand Island area.
Interesting sites along this byway in Nebraska include the following: Lake McConaughy with 100 miles of white sandy beach; Boot Hill Cemetery in Ogallala (a booming cow town in the 1800s); the world-famous outfitter, Cabela's; the home of Buffalo Bill Cody; the world's largest railroad freight yard, the Union Pacific Bailey Yards; a restored Pony Express station that was used when pony riders carried "lightning fast" mail; a museum of military vehicles dating from WWII; the Great Platte River Road Archway; the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer; the original brick highway at Elkhorn; Nebraska's largest art museum, the Joselyn Art Museum; the Henry Doorly Zoo with the world's largest indoor desert, rainforest and nocturnal exhibit; the Nebraska Railroad Museum and Fremont & Elkhorn Valley Railroad; and the Andrew Jackson Higgins National Memorial, just to name a few.
Today, the Lincoln Highway Scenic & Historic Byway gives you glimpses into the past where you can relive some of the adventure when a roadway first linked America from Coast to Coast...and Nebraska from border to border. It's time to rediscover the open road, experience the present and enjoy the Lincoln Highway in Nebraska.