Baker is the county seat of Fallon County, which is located in the southeastern corner of Montana. The beginning of Baker was in the early 1900’s with the coming of the Milwaukee Railroad. Baker is host of the O’Fallon Historical Museum, which includes six buildings of artifacts and historical items. There is no fee, but donations are appreciated. The building is the original 2 story jailhouse with the original steel bars on the upstairs windows where the cells were located. If you are in Baker, check out this pleasant museum.
Visit Pioneer Trails Regional Museum in Bowman. The price of the museum is modest and includes local history, military history, Native American history and an awesome section on paleontology. Since 1991 the museum has become an important facility in the collecting, housing and research of fossils in the area. The museum offers day tours offering participants supervised collecting. What a great way to learn about the ancient environments in which dinosaurs lived.
You are literally in the center of everything, to include the nation! Make sure you check out the Center of the Nation Monument, Avenue of State Flags and the Tri-State Museum at the site of the race. Because you are so close, this is the perfect time to check out Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. This mountain carving features the 60-foot faces of four great American presidents. There is a parking fee, so check their web site for current pricing. It is recommended you plan to spend 90 to 120 minutes.
Located minutes from Mount Rushmore on HWY 16/385 you will find Crazy Horse Memorial, a memorial to Lakota leader Crazy Horse, and to all North American Indians, will be the largest mountain carving in the world upon its completion. You can witness work on the mountain, enjoy American Indian museums, art galleries, sculpture’s studio-home, antiques, American Indian artists and performers.
There is so much to see and do in the area — don’t get too distracted and forget to show up to run!
Rising 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River, Devils Tower is the frozen heart of an extinct volcano. Start your trip in Sundance, then take State Route 14 to State Route 24, which will take you up to the Tower itself. The site is considered sacred to the Lakota and other tribes that have a connection to the area. Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest traditional crack-climbing areas in North America. There is a vehicle pass fee, so check their web site for current pricing.
The Vore Buffalo Jump is one of the most important archaeological sites of the late-prehistoric plains Indians. Discovered during the construction of Highway I-90 in the early 1970s, the Vore site is a natural sinkhole that was used as a bison trap from about 1500 to 1800 A.D. Buffalo were driven over the edge of the sink hole as a method for the Native American tribes to procure the large quantities of meat and hides needed to survive the harsh prairie winters. The Vore Buffalo Jump is on the National Register of Historic Places. The site is approximately half way between Sundance, Wyoming and Spearfish, South Dakota, and is open to the public June 1st – Labor Day, 8 am to 6 pm. There is an admission fee, so check their web site for current pricing.
The Dawes County Historical Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the history of the Northwest portion of Nebraska. The museum grounds include the log house and barn, 1890s schoolhouse, pioneer church and C & NW caboose. The 9,000-square-foot museum houses an impressive collection of area antiques including displays of a general store, a hospital room, blacksmith tools, farm machinery, vintage quilts, a railroad room, and more. These exhibits provide insight into a simpler time. The museum is located on the site of the original 160-acre farm of Nellie and Lee Card, three miles southwest of Chadron. No admission is charged to visit the museum, but donations are accepted.
The Museum of the Fur Trade is dedicated to preserving the rich history of the North American fur trade. Located three miles east of Chadron, the museum stands on the site of James Bordeaux’s trading post, which was established for the American Fur Company in 1837. The museum is located at 6321 Highway 20. For more information, call 308-432-3843.
Eleanor Barbour Cook Museum, at 1000 Main St, on the grounds of Chadron State College, contains rocks, minerals and fossils from Nebraska and around the world. Exhibits include the Ohme collection of agates, jade and petrified wood. The museum is open daily 7:30 am – 4:30 pm. The web site is http://www.csc.edu/sci/ebcmuseum/index.csc.
Stop by the visitor center at 706 West 3rd Street in Chadron for maps and more information about the area and tourist attractions.
On the way from Chadron to Sterling, you may want to check out the South Platte River Trail. This scenic byway, while the shortest in the state, packs a wallop for those who enjoy the true grit of Western history. It’s a 19-mile loop that takes you through everything from Colorado’s only Pony Express station (in Julesburg) to the Lincoln Highway — the first coast-to-coast car route in the nation. Informative placards are found throughout the route to provide additional insight into the area’s storied history.
The Overland Trail Museum takes you back in time, presenting the history of the Overland Trail. The famous and, at its peak, most heavily traveled highway in the country led to the goldfields of California and later Colorado. This replica of an old fort houses artifacts, memorabilia and collections of early life on the prairie. Historic buildings – including a house, church, school, blacksmith shop, general store and barbershop – can be closely inspected throughout the year. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Please call for price of admission, 970-522-3895. Located on Highway 6, east of the South Platte River.