North Platte, Nebraska has always been known as a railroad town. It is home to the largest rail yard, Bailey yard, and was a major stop over area for World War II personnel as they crossed the country. The North Platte Canteen served food and drinks to the hungry military personnel. Today, the Canteen remains a reminder of those who served in the Great War.
A glance at the North Platte business directory will show that the area is thriving. Local businesses, many centered on the rail industry, are thriving despite the slow economy. Shops of all varieties, restaurants and many service oriented businesses can be found when looking through the North Platte, Nebraska yellow pages. North Platte is home to two incredible festivals each year: Nebraskaland Days and the Rail Festival. The Nebraskaland Days festival, held each June, draws over a hundred thousand visitors into the area each year. Rodeos, art shows and concerts are just some of the events that take place at this event. North Platte is also the location of the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park. This park has Buffalo Bill's real home on the property and many interesting artifacts concerning life in the West. It is said that Chief Red Cloud, Sioux warrior was born in the area of the city in 1822.
In the 1930s, North Platte had an encounter with mobsters. Crime, for a short period, became so bad in the area that it was referred to as "Little Chicago." This infamous period in the city's history was recounted in the book Evil Obsession by Nellie Snyder Yost. North Platte is the county seat for Lincoln County. It gained national attention, again in 2008 when three people saw a UFO in the sky that lasted for over 15 minutes. Two of the witnesses were Lincoln County deputies who stated the dancing lights remained in the sky for that period of time and then vanished. No conclusive answer was ever found. It is believed that the area officially became a town during the 1870s, but no official records have been found. However, the town was listed in the 1880 census and had a total of 363 people. Today, North Platte has over 25,000 residents.
Written by Lyndsey Morgan