Sidney in Cheyenne County, Nebraska — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
The history of Nebraska and Cheyenne County correlate to the push westward of the transcontinental railroad in 1867. During the county’s earlier evolution, Frontier Trails connecting to the Oregon, Mormon, Overland, Emigrant Road, Pole Creek Crossing and Texas Cattle were pounded into its soul by thousands of wagon wheels. It was home to fierce native-American battles, and open prairie cattle industry, the Pony Express and a few trading posts. Named for the proud native-Americans that inhabited the area, Cheyenne County was 70 miles wide and 108 miles long, covering the south had of the Nebraska Panhandle 7,460 square miles and 4,838,400 acres. The north half of the Panhandle was unorganized territory, but was attached to Cheyenne County for judicial and legal transactions. Sidney was deemed the territorial capitol and county seat for the entire 15,120 square mile area. Later as more settlers came west and populations grew, 11 counties were carved out of the old
To protect the Union Pacific builders, a federal order on April 29, 1867 stationed a company of soldiers along the Lodge Pole Creek, 56 miles west of Fort Sedgwick. Nebraska had been legally created March 1, 1867. At the top of the hill (look straight north) the new Army Post was established with a tent camp and a blockhouse (Camp Lookout). Named for Sidney Dillon, a UP division head, who later became UP President, the outpost became known as “Sidney Barracks” and later “Fort Sidney”, operating for 27 years until 1894. It was relocated near the creak south of the tracks in 1871, originality with 13 structures eventually expanding to 51. The restored Post Commander’s Home, Officers Quarters, (county museum) and Powder House are short distance away at 6th and 7th Avenues. Many famous Pow Wows between Native-American Chiefs and famed U.S. Generals occurred at Fort Sidney.
The first freighting routes here were established in the early 1800’s, but Sidney is most famous for its fascinating and colorful role during the 1874-1883 period when it was the famed 267-mile route of the Sidney-Deadwood Trail, also known as the Sidney-Black Hills Trail when gold was discovered in the Dakota Territory.
Known by such monikers dubbed by the eastern press as “Sinful Sidney”, “The Wickedest Burgh of the West”, “Toughest Town on the Tracks”, “The Hardest Hole” and even the “Magic City on the Plains” - booming 24-hour Sidney made national headlines frequently. The national press’ fascination
These two important acts passed by the United States Congress opened massive acres of the West to settlers in search of land to establish a new life. The Homestead Act of 1862 allowed for claiming 160 acres with five years residency and the Kincaid Act of 1904 sponsored by Nebraska Congressman Moses Kincaid allowed for claim to 640 acres with five years residency. A major territorial land office just one block from here doled out claims to settlers as Sidney reinvented itself as a major farming and ranching trade center from the 1880’s
Two monumental events would again change the course of Sidney history as America entered World War II. The Sioux Ordnance Depot was commissioned in 1942 by the U.S. Army and Sidney was pinpointed as a strategic location where an entire township (19,771 acres) was condemned and several hundred workers moved to build the massive munitions depot just northwest of here. The manufacturing and storage depot would employee over 2,000 people between 1942-1967. Today it serves as private industrial parks and is home to many industrial companies and jobs. Oil was discovered north of here in 1949 kicking off an oil and gas exploration and production boom of business and jobs that blossomed through three decades and continues to impact today on a smaller scale. Cheyenne County remains one of the largest oil and gas pro ducting counties in the State. The Nebraska Oil and Gas Commission state headquarters is still
Golden Link 1974
Again because of its strange Midwest location, Cheyenne County became home to 38 Minuteman Missile bases as part of the 200 missile complex of Warren Air Force Base. Constructed in the 1960’s, the missiles are still active. Just as Promontory Summit, Utah commemorated the golden spike in 1869 that joined east and west on the transcontinental railroad; a century later, Sidney was the site of the golden link for the completion of Interstate-80 on October 19, 1974 stretching from New York to San Francisco as Americas’s busiest highway. The community was still economically reeling from the jobs and population loss impacted by the Depot closing, end of missile construction, oil depletion, railroad jobs transferred and modernized agriculture practices - so it declined developing the I-80 interchanges. Finally in 1987, the City ran three mile of utilities to Exit 59 opening a new wave of development that continues to add businesses and commercial jobs and capture outside commerce.
A modern day renaissance of the Sidney area has occurred over the pas quarter century. Economic indicators tripled as the community utilized its logistics capabilities of having four major highways, three railroads,
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical date for this entry is March 1, 1867.
Location. 41° 8.755′ N, 102° 58.611′ W. Marker is in Sidney, Nebraska, in Cheyenne County. Marker is at the intersection of Hickory Street and 10th Street, on the left when traveling east on Hickory Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1000 Hickory Street, Sidney NE 69162, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 3 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, Fort Sidney (approx. 0.4 miles away); Sioux Army Depot (approx. 7.7 miles away); Discovery Oil Well - Marathon Oil Company (approx. 7.9 miles away).
Also see . . . History of Sidney - Official Sidney Website. The City of Sidney was founded in 1867 by the Union Pacific and named for Sidney Dillon, a railroad attorney. The city grew up around the Sidney Barracks, a military outpost with a primary function of protecting the Union Pacific Railroad track layers against the threat of hostile Indians. (Submitted on September 4, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 3, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 434 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on September 3, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on September 4, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.