This was to be a trip to Reynolds, Nebraska (for all the usual good reasons), but it expanded to include Angus and Oak, Nebraska.
From Kansas to what is now Kearney, Nebraska, the route of the Oregon Trail follows the north side of the Little Blue River. The old trails (Oregon Trail, California Trail, and Santa Fe Trail) are a good start for finding interesting old towns, as are the old railroads that came a few years later.
The is the Little Blue River near Hebron.
Hebron, Nebraska, early Sunday morning.
The Oregon Trail would have been right through where the town is now. A combination of the trail and the coming railroad probably decided the towns site (convincing the railroad to come through would make or break your new town).
Downtown Hebron, Nebraska.
I talked with this gentleman in Mary's cafe about the town of Angus (which I saw on the map while eating breakfast), and he suggested also looking at Oak. He didn't think there'd be much left of Angus, but Oak was still there. He also told me about the system of naming the local towns along the route of the railroad:
Nebraska Highway 4.
That's Oak, Nebraska across that plowed field.
The Business district of Oak, Nebraska.
Angus, Nebraska isn't too far from Oak, but it wouldn't be nearly so easy to find. This is it. If there ever had been a business district, I didn't see any evidence of it. A few abandoned houses and the school seems to be about all that remains.
The school was divided into two rooms, with a divider down the middle.
Nuckolls County, Nebraska. That's the Little Blue River in the distance (looking north), so the Oregon trail would have been across the river, on the hill.
Two children (from the same family) from the early 1880s.
A little bit of everything.
Nelson, Nebraska is on Nebraska Highway 14.
Byron, Nebraska is just north of the Kansas/Nebraska state line.
Hubbell, Nebraska is also on Nebraska Highway 8, not very far east of Byron.
The Hubbell Public School is no longer used (you'll see very few children in these shrinking towns).
Nebraska Highway 8.
At Reynolds, I turned south towards the Kansas/Nebraska state line, hoping that the road would be paved. It was (sort of).
The pavement is gone, and is replaced by compacted dirt and gravel. It's not bad in dry weather, but I would not be on it if it were wet.
Republic County, Kansas. You can build your big stone house, but nothing is guaranteed.
Cuba, Kansas is an early Czech settlement (but, they didn't show up in time to give it a more appropriate name).
Kansas Highway 148.
Not far south of Minneapolis is a state park "Rock City", named for the strange limestone formations.
McPherson County, Kansas
It's time for a root beer float in Hesston, Kansas.