2503 Plum Creek Parkway
Lexington, NE 68850
Phone: (308) 324-5601
Fax: (308) 324-4284
The George W. Frank House is a must-visit landmark for tourists in Kearney. This historic house dates back to 1889 and is full of architectural grandeur. George William Frank, Jr., a prosperous local architect built it as a family home for his parents and equipped it with many firsts such as the first building in Western United States to feature electrical wiring. The Richardsonian Romanesque Shingle architectural style used, however, is reminiscent of a bygone era, replete with oak wood furniture, intricate wooden sculptures, Holland tiles and seven magnificent fireplaces. Guests can walk through the three stories, admiring vintage artworks, mirrors, furniture and fabrics. The breathtaking Tiffany stained glass window is the highlight of the place and well worth a visit. As this house passed through numerous wealthy hands through the decades, it fuses myriad architectural styles. Today, the building is situated within the premises of the University of Nebraska-Kearney and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It also functions as a museum and a venue for major cultural events.
The Archway is a monument and local history museum with unique architecture planned by the Walt Disney Company. This museum stretches on an elongated, arched bridge, balanced between two towers. The façade was created using a combination of acids and electricity to impart brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow, inspired by grand Nebraska sunsets. Through audio tours, artifacts and exhibitions, visitors can understand the economic and social processes in Platte River Valley that changed the country's geography and led to the westward expansion of the American borders. It narrates important occurrences such as the building of highways, railroads, telegraph wires and trails, the various wars fought in the region, intriguing buffalo stampedes and famous men responsible for shaping history, including the state's pioneers. This museum also organizes educational tours for Scout groups and schools.
Automobile aficionados should not skip a visit to the Classic Car Collection museum. It displays approximately 200 vintage cars, of which 130 come from the private collection of a wealthy couple, Janice and Bernie Taulborg. Visitors are given an iPad for free so that they can navigate through the museum, view photographs and understand the history of each car in depth. Every automobile model has an intriguing story behind it and the museum staff are more than willing to narrate them to visitors. View models dating from 1900 to contemporary times, such as a Buick Touring from 1917, Studebaker Sedan from 1925 and the 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser. A tour through the museum helps one understand the craftsmanship and designing of the diverse car models, while multimedia shows impart extra knowledge.
Head to Fort Kearny State Historical Park if you want a mix of culture, archeology and outdoor activities. This park was the site of Fort Kearny, a military outpost built in 1848 and deconstructed in 1871. This fort was mentioned in Jules Verne's famous novel Around the World in Eighty Days. Today, the site boasts a small museum that showcases military weapons and other equipment, a theater depicting the fort's history and a refurbished blacksmith and carpenter's shop. The site is of interest to archaeologists, who have excavated foundations of old storehouses, stockades and army quarters. This park also has a campsite with various outdoor activities like hiking, fishing and swimming.