Place

Fort Kearny State Historical Park

Sod and stone building in a grass meadow with large trees and a historic wagon in the foreground
One of the many structures at Fort Kearny State Historical Park

Quick Facts

Gifts/Souvenirs/Books, Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Information, Picnic Table, Restroom, Trailhead

A map of Passport and Places to Go locations for National Historic Trails.

Fort Kearny was the first Western military post built to protect emigrants on the trails west, and it later served as the headquarters for a number of small outposts along the emigrant trails. This military post was strategically located at a junction where various eastern feeder trails merged into one. This broad and vast single trail followed the Platte River 330 miles west to Fort Laramie. Fort Kearny was also a place where emigrants could resupply and a Pony Express station.

Emigrant Remarks

J. Goldsborough Bruff recorded his impressions on June 17, 1849,

"I visited the Fort . . . . This place is as yet merely the site of an intended fort; it has some adobe embankments, quarters of adobe & frame, and a number of tents & sheds. Is on the bank of the Platte, where Grand Island makes a narrow branch of the river between it and the shore."

Site Information

Today, the park offers an interpretive center with trail-era artifacts, exhibits on the fort's history, uses over the years, and its residents. In addition, there are 40 acres of grounds with walking paths and reconstructed sod and adobe buildings. Modest admission is charged; Nebraska state park passes can be purchased at the interpretive center. 

 

Safety Considerations

More Site Information

Oregon National Historic Trail

California National Historic Trail

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail

Pony Express National Historic Trail

 

California National Historic Trail, Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, Oregon National Historic Trail, Pony Express National Historic Trail

Last updated: December 10, 2021