Photographer Solomon D. Butcher depicted a street in Kearney in 1910. NSHS RG2608-2500
Kearney has long promoted itself as the “Midway City” located halfway between the coasts, exactly 1,733 miles from both Boston and San Francisco. That mileage, however, long appeared to match no known historical route—until now. An article in the Summer 2015 issue of Nebraska History unravels the mystery, and shows how Kearney promoted itself starting the nineteenth century.
In 1888, H. D. Watson established the historic Watson Ranch, at one time containing 8,000 acres, reaching from the fertile Platte Valley on the south to the rolling hills on the north and from downtown Kearney to a point five miles west. During its existence, the ranching operations were devoted to grains, poultry, vegetables, and a 250-acre fruit orchard, primarily of cherry, peach, plum, and apple trees.
“Kearney has it and has it bad,” said the Kearney Daily Hub on May 14, 1902.