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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Ogallala in Keith County, Nebraska — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Court House Rock, Chimney Rock and Scott’s Bluffs

 
 
Court House Rock, Chimney Rock and Scott’s Bluffs Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, November 25, 2012
1. Court House Rock, Chimney Rock and Scott’s Bluffs Marker
Inscription. Traveling northwest from Ash Hollow, the emigrants encountered three natural features of the North Platte Valley which became well-known milestones. First was Court House Rock, rising abruptly from the plains as the vanguard of the bluffs farther on. Observers likened this gigantic formation to some great public building or medieval castle.

However, no single sight along the trail attracted as much attention as Chimney Rock. The tower, which could be seen for miles, served as a beacon for the weary travelers. Many camped nearby, and Chimney Rock is mentioned in more trail accounts than any other landmark. Although the spire is slowly crumbling due to erosion, Chimney Rock remains a unique natural wonder.

As the wagon trains approached the end of their journey across Nebraska, they were greeted by a series of citadel-like eminences, dominated by the imposing bulk of Scott’s Bluffs. Named after fur trader Hiram Scott, the Bluffs are now an national monument.

Visible traces of the great migration still survive in some areas and the landmarks remain for the modern traveler who chooses to follow the route of the Great Platte River Road.
 
Erected by Nebraska Department of Roads/Nebraska State Historical Society. (Marker Number 99.)
 
Marker series.

Court House Rock, Chimney Rock and Scott’s Bluffs Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, November 25, 2012
2. Court House Rock, Chimney Rock and Scott’s Bluffs Marker
This marker is included in the Nebraska State Historical Society marker series.
 
Location. 41° 7.212′ N, 101° 36.229′ W. Marker is near Ogallala, Nebraska, in Keith County. Marker can be reached from Interstate 80, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. This marker is located at the Roscoe Rest Area on the north side of Interstate 80. Marker is in this post office area: Ogallala NE 69153, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Ogallala and the Platte Valley (here, next to this marker); Ash Hollow (here, next to this marker); The Great Platte River Road (approx. 6 miles away); a different marker also named The Great Platte River Road (approx. 6 miles away); End of the Texas Trail (approx. 6 miles away); Highways 26 and 92 (approx. 6 miles away); Standard Oil Gas Station (approx. 6 miles away); The Pony Express (approx. 6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Ogallala.
 
Also see . . .
1. Court House and Jail House Rocks -. "Hundreds of overland emigrants mentioned Courthouse Rock in their diaries. Often called a "castle" or "solitary tower," the name Courthouse was first used in 1837. One 1845 traveler described the rock as "resembling the ruins of an old castle [which] rises abruptly from the plain. . . .It is difficult to look upon it and not believe that art had something to do with its construction. The voyagers have called it the Courthouse; but it looks infinitely more like the Capitol."" (Submitted on December 18, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 

2. Scotts Bluff National Monument - National Park Service. "Towering 800 feet above the North Platte River, Scotts Bluff has served as a landmark for peoples from Native Americans to emigrants on the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails to modern travelers. Rich with geological and paleontological history as well as human history, there is much to discover while exploring the 3,000 acres of Scotts Bluff National Monument." (Submitted on December 18, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 

3. Chimney Rock - National Park Service. "Though the origins of the name of the rock are obscure, the title “Chimney Rock” probably originated with the first fur traders in the region. In the early 19th century, however, travelers referred to it by a variety of other names, including Chimley Rock, Chimney Tower, and Elk Peak, but Chimney Rock had become the most commonly used name by the 1840s." (Submitted on December 18, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
 
Additional keywords. Oregon/California Trail
 
Categories. Notable Places
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 353 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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