Dawson County lies along the famous Platte River in south-central Nebraska, with road systems connecting citizens to the rest of the country.
U.S. Highway 30 and State Highway 47 intersect in Gothenburg, which is a half-mile north of Interstate 80. It is 185 miles west of Lincoln, the state capital; 240 miles west of Omaha; and 300 miles east of Denver. The community, bordered by sand hills to the north, has the fertile Platte River Valley to the south, east and west.
Cozad is located on the 100th Meridian, and U.S. Highway 30 and State Highway 21 intersect here. Visitors traveling Interstate 80 exit at mile marker 222. The community borders the north side of the Platte River.
Lexington sits among U.S. Highways 30 and 283 and State Highway 21, just 1.5 miles north of I-80. Only 220 miles west of Omaha and 320 miles east of Denver, it has a central position that supports its hub status.
FIVE TRAILS CROSS DAWSON COUNTY
Oregon Trail: The major westward migration began in 1843, and more than a half-million people traveled west over the trail during the next 25 years.
Mormon Trail: Beginning in 1846 and over a span of 23 years, 70,000 pioneers with 9,600 wagons and 650 handcarts passed through this area on their journey west. They followed the north bank of the Platte River, which can be retraced along historical U.S. Highway 30.
Pony Express Route: A romantic symbol of the American Frontier, the Pony Express private mail service operated from 1860-61, delivering mail between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California.
Union Pacific Railroad: The Iron Road was the name given to the first transcontinental railroad. In 1865, Union Pacific began laying rails along the Great Platte River Road and promoted settlement by selling land in the fertile Platte River Valley.
Lincoln Highway: The nation’s first transcontinental auto route ran along the Platte River. U.S. Highway 30, recognized as the Lincoln Highway, still serves as an east-west route across Nebraska. Travelers can follow the original route across Dawson County. The Lincoln Highway gives travelers a glimpse of this area’s history and heritage. Named a Nebraska Byway in 1999, it spans the entire width of the state, making it the longest byway in Nebraska. Information about the byway can be found at www.lincolnhighwaybyway.com.