Historic trail marker found in garbage, now on display at the Archway
A historic commemorative trail marker that has survived for more than a century is now at the Archway in Kearney.
It is a trail marker commemorating the spot where the Oregon Trail crossed the Platte River.
"It was placed in 1910 by a group of Civil War veterans who didn't want people to forget the history of this area," said Archway marketing coordinator, Mark Foradori. "Here we are 107 years later and we're looking at it and talking about it because what they did worked, we remember."
However, it is not just the original history of the trail marker that is unique, its more recent journey is also special.
"Originally the marker was found in an alley in a trash chute by Merwin Henderson in the early 1950s," said trail marker owner, Don Dingman. "It was broken in half vertically, and he found those two pieces, took them home and glued them together and put them in his basement for 45 years."
It was after that time that Don received it.
"I had the marker for like 15 years before I happened to go into the Kearney Hub office one day and I talked to the right person at the right time and she was able to pull up a news paper from 1910 August 25 on page three and it accurately described the marker," said Dingman. "It was like, oh my gosh, it's all right here."
Since then, Don has been looking for the perfect place to display the artifact.
"Hopefully this marker will never end up in a garbage pile or an alley or a closet and it will be out there for everybody to enjoy," said Dingman.
The marker is on display starting Monday at 9 a.m. through the end of the summer in the Archway lobby.