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LEGACY NUGGET: The importance of the railroad to the founding of Gering and Scottsbluff
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LEGACY NUGGET: The importance of the railroad to the founding of Gering and Scottsbluff

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LEGACY NUGGET: The importance of the railroad to the founding of Gering and Scottsbluff

The Gering railroad station played a huge role in growing the community.

A fabulous book called “Images of America GERING, SCOTTSBLUFF, AND TERRYTOWN,” which we sell in our bookstore, was put together by North Platte Valley Museum before they merged with Farm and Ranch Museum. It accurately explains the role the railroad played in our communities’ expansion.

The Burlington and Missouri (B & M) was the first railroad to come to Scottsbluff in 1900. To clarify a common error, B & M was a subsidiary of the CB & Q, but it was a different railroad.

Gering was supposed to be a railroad town and plans were being discussed to lay tracks for Union Pacific as early as 1885, just two years before Gering was founded. Union Pacific did eventually arrive here, but not until 1911.

The Union Pacific’s appearance was bittersweet due to internal conflict over its location. The competition between businesses on Seventh Street “Scab Town” and 10th Street was intense. Both areas wanted the Union Pacific train station as close as possible to boost profits.

It turned out that Gering’s founder Oscar Gardner had enough pull to win this dispute over Seventh Street business owners, because in 1913 Union Pacific ordered the station to be moved from the initial location on Seventh Street over to 10th Street. The station helped accelerate growth in both locations, of course, despite the dispute and served Gering’s delightful community for 60 years. Union Pacific’s last passenger train pulled out in 1971 and the old station was eventually converted into the Wildlife World Museum, which is pending a re-opening at the Riverside Discovery Center in Scottsbluff.

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