Nebraska home to halfway point on historic U.S. Route 6

Monday, January 20, 2014
Representatives from Furnas and Frontier counties joined Red Willow County residents Sunday to find out about plans to promote the tourism potential of U.S. Route 6, the longest transcontinental highway in the United States. Gathering for the presentation were: front, from left, Marcia Kuiper, Gretna, and Sandy Gallatin, McCook. Standing, from left, Jean Hardy, McCook; Carol Schlegel, Culbertson; Brad Kuiper, Gretna; Paul Orman, Maywood; Delores Orman, Maywood; Bob Hardy, McCook; and Dale Long, Holbrook. (Gene O. Morris/McCook Gazette)

McCOOK, Nebraska -- The exact spot has not been marked, but Marcia Kuiper of the Historic Route 6 Tourist Association revealed Sunday that the halfway point on America's longest transcontinental highway is somewhere in Nebraska.

What is known is that U.S. Route 6 is 3,652 miles long, stretching all the way from Provincetown, Massachusetts to Long Beach, California. That would mean that the halfway point is 1,826 miles west of Provincetown, near where the Pilgrims first landed in America, and 1,826 miles east of Long Beach, which is home to one of the largest shipping ports in the world.

In time to come, Kuiper anticipates that the exact spot of the Route 6 halfway point will be pinpointed.

Kuiper, who is from Gretna, is the executive director of the Nebraska U.S. Route 6 Tourist Association. On a weekend swing through western Nebraska, she spoke to groups of supporters in Indianola, McCook and Wauneta.

During a PowerPoint presentation Sunday afternoon at the Horse Creek Inn in McCook, Kuiper said efforts are under way in many of the 14 states along the route to promote Historic Route 6, which is described as the "Roadway to Adventure."

Encouraged by Dave Darby, the executive director for Iowa, Kuiper became Nebraska's Route 6 director in November of 2013, Working closely with Roger Bratt, a historian from Gretna, Kuiper is striving to drum up support all along the 374 miles that Route 6 covers in Nebraska.

Sharing the words of those dedicated to spreading the word about Route 6, Marcia painted a word picture for those attending the Sunday session, "Through lush green grasses and clear blue skies, over each hill and curve a new surprise ... this ribbon of highway that connects our lives. Route 6 is your road to adventure."

In the western half of the state, U.S. Route 6 passes through or close by Hastings, Juniata, Heartwell, Minden, Axtell, Funk, Holdrege, Arapahoe, Holbrook, Cambridge, Bartley, Indianola, Red Willow, McCook, Culbertson, Palisade, Hamlet, Wauneta, Enders, Imperial, and Lamar.

U.S. Route 6 started taking shape in 1911 when regional representatives, including several from this area, gathered to form a Good Roads Association. What were dirt roads at that time became paved in the years to come and by 1931 what is now Route 6 began becoming a coast-to-coast connection.

To promote the U.S. Route 6 Tourist Association, Kuiper is selling memberships to individuals, families, car clubs and historical societies for $35, and to businesses, depending on the number of employees, from $50 to $1,000.

For information about the Nebraska U.S. Route 6 Tourist Association, those interested are encouraged to call 402-332-5442; e-mail Nebraska@Route6tour.com; or write: Route 6 Association, 405 Devonshire Drive, Gretna, NE 68028.

Sunday's presentation was hosted by Carol Schlegel, the tourism director for Red Willow County.

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  • Thank you, Gene for the great article. The roads we travel most become the face of the state, and I can tell you from experience that from US 6, Nebraska is much prettier than you would ever guess from Interstate 80. On top of that, the old two lane highways offer you the opportunity to drop in and pay a visit to the many mom and pop restaurants in the small towns along the way. And remember money spent at a locally owned business stays local, helping to boost the economy. We need to slow down and smell the roses. Nebraska has so many destination spots on Route 6. The little Grand Canyon in Wauneta, the Pioneer Museum in Minden, Vala's pumpkin Patch in Gretna, and the beautiful historic architecture in McCook immediately come to mind. Things you would never see out on the interstate. We here in Iowa salute Marcia Kuiper for her hard work and determination, helping to make Nebraska a destination state, and preserving history. She's doing a fantastic job. (And it's an unpaid volunteer position!) Remember, you can get Twice the Kicks on US Highway 6!

    David Darby

    Executive Director

    Route 6 Tourist Association (Iowa Division)

    -- Posted by Dave Darby on Mon, Jan 20, 2014, at 3:50 PM
  • Sometimes we are too close to the forest to see the trees and do realize the beauty around us,

    -- Posted by dennis on Tue, Jan 21, 2014, at 7:09 PM
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