Cozad and the 100th Meridian

2019 West Again, Nebraska, Road Trip, States

As we were making our way from Bailey Yard to Lexington along US-30, we were closely paralleling I-80. Then as we passed through the little town of Cozad, Nebraska we experienced one of the joys of off-interstate driving. We saw an interesting roadside historic area and just pulled off the road to investigate. We’d arrived at the 100th Meridian. The stop was definitely in keeping with our current fascination with Union Pacific Railroad history. Completion of the transcontinental railroad to this point in 1866 was cause for a major celebration. On October 26, 1866 the first passenger train to travel this far west arrived from Wall Street carrying 250 dignitaries. About six years later John J. Cozad arrived aboard a Union Pacific passenger train at the 100th Meridian and decided to found a town there. In 1878 John Wesley Powell proposed that this longitudinal line is more or less where the arid west meets the humid east. It’s possible to farm without irrigation east of here. Today it’s an intriguing little park centered around the historic markers commemorating the history of this location.

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