- Cheyenne Outbreak Monument
- Crawford Historical Museum
- Dawes County Historical Museum
- Eleanor Barbour Cook Museum of Geology
- Fort Robinson State Park Museum
- Museum of the Fur Trade
- Trailside Museum of Natural History
- Sioux County Museum
- Historical Markers & Monuments
“We will not go there to live. That is not a healthful country, and if we should stay there, we would all die. We do not wish to go back there, and we will not go. I am here on my own ground, and I will never go back. You may kill me here, but you cannot make me go back. You can starve us if you like, but you cannot make us go south. We will not go.”
Those words, spoken by Chief Morning Star, also known as Chief Dull Knife, are engraved in an impressive monument to the Cheyenne Outbreak from Fort Robinson in 1879. The monument, located along Highway 20 west of Fort Robinson on land owned by Dull Knife College, was dedicated in 2016, 15 years after construction began. It commemorates members of the Northern Cheyenne who fled imprisonment at the Fort following the government’s efforts to force them to return to Oklahoma by denying them food, water and fuel.
The Northern Cheyenne surrendered at Fort Robinson in 1877 after their village in the Bighorn Mountains was burned and were eventually sent south to present-day Oklahoma. Suffering from disease and poor nutrition, the Cheyenne left Oklahoma without permission to return to their tribal lands in the north in 1878, led by Morning Star (aka Dull Knife) and Little Wolf. The tribe split in to two groups as they crossed Nebraska, with Morning Star planning to join Chief Red Cloud at the Red Cloud Agency. Red Cloud, however, had been relocated to Dakota Territory, and Morning Star surrendered to Fort Robinson in October 1878, seeking permission to either join Red Cloud or return to Montana. His negotiations were unsuccessful, and the government began withholding food, fuel and water to force a return south.
On Jan. 9, 1879, a group of the Northern Cheyenne broke out of the barracks, escaping toward the buttes. A running battle with Fort Robinson’s soldiers took place over the next several days, before the remaining tribe members were recaptured Jan. 22 near Antelope Creek northwest of Fort Robinson. All told, 64 Cheyenne and 11 soldiers were killed during the breakout and the ensuing battle.
Part of the land for the Cheyenne Outbreak monument was donated to Dull Knife College in Montana by T.R. and Kay Hughes, who also made arrangements for the college to purchase the remainder of the land at a reduced price. Though the entrance to the monument is gated, visitors are allowed to pass through the gate to visit the monument. Please remember to close the gate after you’ve passed through both entering and leaving.
The Crawford Historical Museum, located in the heart of downtown Crawford, is operated by the Crawford Historical Society to preserve and protect Crawford’s history and culture. The displays reflect the early people, economy, and social interests of Crawford. The Museum’s collection is a dynamic thing, growing and changing as acquisitions, needs and interests demand. The museum was established in its current location in 1992 after the disastrous White River flood destroyed the former building, located in the City Park. It now is housed in the Crawford Cultural Center building through the generosity of Crawford’s municipal administration. Many of the items in the Museum are post-flood acquisitions, a testament to the industry, generosity, and concern of the residents of the area.
The Museum is divided into several interest areas: Pre-history, the Native American interest, Traders & Trappers, the Military Presence at Fort Robinson, the Development and Cultural Growth of Crawford, Farming & Ranching, the Schools, and specific Business and Organizational interests.
The Crawford Historical Museum is located at 341 2nd St. in Crawford; admission is free. The museum is open from mid-May to mid-October from 10 am to 4 pm Monday through Saturday.
Located three miles southwest of Chadron, the Dawes County Historical Museum houses an impressive collection of pioneer and early-Nebraska antiques, including blacksmith tools, farm machinery, vintage quilts and more. Among the nostalgic room displays are replicas of a general store, a hospital room and a railroad room. Guests can explore the log house, barn, 1890s schoolhouse, pioneer church, and C&NW caboose on the museum grounds. And don’t miss History in Action Day, an annual event held on the second Sunday of September. The entire family can enjoy buggy rides, horse shoe pitching, music, and demonstrations of butter churning, wool spinning, rope making and apple cider making.
Phone: 308-432-4999; Hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 1 – 5 p.m. Saturdays and holidays. Free of charge.
The Eleanor Barbour Cook Museum of Geology, located on the campus of Chadron State College, houses an impressive collection of rocks, minerals, and fossils from Nebraska and around the world. Visitors can see rare agates, jade and petrified wood.
Chadron State College’s first museum, the Eleanor Barbour Cook Museum of Geology dates back to 1938 when college president Robert Elliott began discussions with vertebrate paleontologist E.H. Barbour of Lincoln and Barbour’s daughter and CSC’s first geology professor, Eleanor Barbour Cook. With help from her father and others, Eleanor Cook began endowing the museum collections with donated specimens from around the world. While many of the original specimans were lost when the museum was left without much supervision in the 1940s, the collection has since grown.
Contact: Mike Leite, Museum Coordinator; Phone: 432-6377; Email: email@example.com
The Fort Robinson State Park Museum, located in the 1905 post headquarters building, highlights 75 years of military history, beginning with the creation of the Fort in 1956. Exhibits detail historical events such as the post’s role guarding the Red Cloud Agency from 1874 to 1877 and the housing of World War II German POWs from 1943 to 1946.
The museum is managed by the Nebraska State Historical Society and houses exhibits and objects like the following:
- the only known dog kennel from the K-9 Corps of World War II
- marksmanship medals earned by Buffalo Soldier Caleb Benson between 1902 and 1909
- nineteenth-century Sioux objects related to the Red Cloud Agency
The museum is open daily from 8:30 am to 5 pm from late May to late September each year and is closed from Oct. 1 to late May. Small admission fee.
The Museum of the Fur Trade, located three miles east of Chadron on Highway 20, houses exhibits and artifacts from the early colonial days to the present century. The museum and its directors are dedicated to providing educational, comprehensive, and accurate exhibits that communicate the truth and relevance of one of America’s first business enterprises—the fur trade. Among some of the incredibly rare artifacts visitors can see are a narwhal tusk, numerous rifles, including a gun that once belonged to Shawnee chief Tecumseh, Native American beadwork, and even a deck of playing cards from 1844. The Bordeaux Trading Post is located on the museum grounds also. The trading post has been reconstructed and was reopened to the public in 1956; it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Phone: 308-432-3843; Hours: May 1 through Oct. 31, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and has a small entry fee. Open by appointment only the remainder of the year.
Inspired by true events, THE REVENANT is an immersive and visceral cinematic experience capturing an expedition of the uncharted American wilderness, legendary explorer Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. Director and renowned filmmaker, Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman, Babel), contacted the Museum of the Fur Trade for costume designs in the film. As a “thank you” Alejandro set the Hugh Glass character costume back to the museum, which is on display in Lindeken Hall. Below is a trailer for the film.
The Trailside Museum of Natural History at Fort Robinson State Park features one of the most unique exhibits in the entire nation—the Clash of the Mammoths. Two gigantic bull mammoths were battling for dominance when their tusks became intertwined. Unable to separate, the pair eventually died in place and remained untouched for over 10,000 years. The museum is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 am – 5 pm in April, May, September and October. Summer hours, which run from Memorial Day to Labor Day, are 9 am – 6 pm daily. The museum is closed from November through March, except by appointment.
The Sioux County Museum features several buildings, including a historic schoolhouse and telephone office. All are filled with numerous artifacts and exhibits related to the past of Harrison and Sioux County. The museum also sponsors the Sioux County Historical Trek each September. The Trek guides participants in exploring local sites and history in Sioux County and the surrounding area.
Main Street, Harrison, NE 69339
Open Memorial Day through Labor Day
10:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday – Saturday
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm Sunday
A rich historical heritage is chronicled across Northwest Nebraska, where Native Americans, early pioneers and soldiers made their home in the shadows of the buttes. The region offers many opportunities to learn about various historical events, including several historical markers and monuments. Take a road trip through Northwest Nebraska and walk in the footsteps of those who came before.
- Warbonnet and Yellow Hair Monuments – Marks an encounter between the 5th Cavalry (including scout Buffalo Bill Cody) and a group of Cheyenne near Warbonnet Creek in 1876. Take Highway 2/71 north of Crawford to Hat Creek Road and then travel on Hat Creek Road 10 miles and turn on to Montrose Road. Monument is located north of the Montrose Church.
- Cheyenne Outbreak 1879 – Dull Knife’s band of Cheyenne fled through the buttes seen in the distance from this marker after escaping from Fort Robinson. Located west of Fort Robinson on Highway 20.
- Fort Laramie- Fort Robinson Trail – This trail helped supply outposts at Camp Robison and Camp Sheridan. Located south of Harrison on Highway 29.
- Coffee Siding Marker – Cattle ranching was king in Northwest Nebraska, and Charles Coffee constructed a railroad siting at this location west of Harrison on Highway 20 to ship cattle to Chicago and avoid more expensive freight charges in Wyoming.
- Village of Harrison – This village was originally established in 1884 as a railroad camp called Summit because of the town’s elevation. At 4,876 feet, it’s the highest town in Nebraska. Marker is located on the east side of the village along Highway 20.
- Fighting in the Buttes – After escaping Fort Robinson, Dull Knife’s Cheyenne climbed the buttes and fought a running battle in their bid for freedom. Marker located along the Old Smiley Scenic Drive west of Fort Robinson.
- Crawford – This village started as a tent city in 1886 and was named after a Fort Robinson soldier. Crawford served as an important supply depot and entertainment center for soldiers stationed at the Fort.
- Crawford 1891 School Bell – Crawford’s first high school was constructed in 1890 and this bell was installed in the belfry the next year. It was turned into a monument after demolition of the structure in 1956. Located at 501 Coates St.
- Baptiste Garnier Death – Garnier served as a scout and was killed in the street by a bartender in 1900. 260-298 2nd Street
- Council Tree – This marker represents the approximate location of the Council Tree where the Allison Commission met with thousands of Lakota Sioux in an effort to purchase the Black Hills in 1875. 500-542 Old Highway 20, Whitney
- Butte Country – Buttes are the most significant landmark across Northwest Nebraska and served as sites for events like a legendary battle at Crow Butte between the Sioux and the Crow. 3895-3899 US 20, Whitney
- Chadron State Park – Nebraska’s first state park, established April 25, 1921, Chadron State Park provides a variety of recreational opportunities. Located south of Chadron on Highway 385.
- Chadron Creek Trading Post – This early trading post helped the fur trade in the region become successful. Managed by Louis Chartran from 1842-1845, the nearby creek and the town of Chadron was named after him. 16480 US 385
- Fort Robinson-Camp Sheridan-Pine Ridge Indian Agency Road – This road was used to transport military and Indian supplies, and Crazy Horse traveled over it on his final journey to Camp Robinson in 1877, where he was eventually killed. Highway 385
- Fort Pierre-Fort Laramie Trail – This 300-mile route was used to transport hundreds of thousands of buffalo robes and 27 tons of fur-company-traded goods between 1837-1850. Highway 385.
- Chadron-Chicago Cowboy Race – This 1893 race was America’s longest horse race as nine riders competed to be the first to arrive in Chicago after starting at the corner of Second and Bordeaux streets in Chadron.
- First Church in Chadron – The Congregational Church built in 1885 was the first church constructed in the pioneer version of Chadron at 300-398 Chadron Ave.
- Chadron State College – Chadron State College, at 1000 Main St., was the state’s fourth Normal School. Classes began in 1911.
- Bordeaux Trading Post – Built by James Bordeaux, this trading station was a significant part of the fur trade from 1846-1872. 6321 Highway 20
Fort Robinson State Park, first established by the military as Camp Robinson, encompasses unique history all its own and is home to several historical markers from the site’s early days.
- 1887 Barracks Row – Cavalry troops occupied the row from 1887 to 1916
- 1909 Brick Barracks – The only original barracks to still exist at Fort Robinson, it housed the 8th and 12th Cavalries and the Quartermaster Remount Service
- Adobe Officers Quarters – Constructed in 1887 these quarters have been restored
- Buffalo Soldiers at Fort Robinson – Black soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalries helped build the new post. The 9th Cavalry were the first soldiers sent to the Pine Ridge Reservation during the Ghost Dance trouble in 1890, and the 10th helped capture Ute Indians who had fled Utah
- Flagstaff – 105 feet high with a ladder and crow’s nest for buglers
- Fort Robinson – Camp Robinson played an important role in Indian wars from 1876-1890. Crazy Horse died here and Dull Knife’s Cheyenne attempted to flee from here. Later, it was the site of the world’s largest remount depot, a K-9 training center and a German POW camp
- Fort Robinson and the Railroad – The railroad played important role in expanding the fort’s regional importance
- German POW Camp – The first POWs arrived in 1943 and were allowed to become farm laborers, aiding a war-depleted regional work force
- K-9 Training Area – 5,000 dogs were housed and trained as guard, scout, messenger and sled dogs during WWII
- Officers’ Row 1874-1875 – Oldest original building at Fort, originally constructed with dirt floors
- Officers Row 1909 – The last officers’ homes constructed at the Fort
- Post Headquarters 1905 – This location featured the post commander’s office, other administrative offices, and the Fort’s post office and telephone exchange. It is now home to the Fort Robinson Museum
- Red Cloud Agency – Established in 1873 for Red Cloud and his band, as well as other Northern Plains Indians, the agency was home to 13,000 Native Americans
- Fort Robinson Cemetery – This cemetery was in use from 1875-1945 and once contained 258 gravesites including Batiste Garnier, 10 killed in the Cheyenne Outbreak, soldiers and their dependents. Most of remaining graves were moved to Maxwell when the Army abandoned Fort Robinson
- The Flight of the Cheyenne – This marker commemorates the 1879 Cheyenne Outbreak and the ground they fled across in their bid for freedom
View the Nebraska Historical Map and List to see a map and list of the historical markers.