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Spanning I-80 at Exit 275, the Archway offers a unique historical exhibit that brings American history to life and so much more.

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Since it opened in the year 2000, the Archway has stood as an enduring tribute to the adventurers who traveled the Great Platte River Road though Nebraska and helped to build America. Over the years, we have welcomed and inspired over 1.5 million visitors with our story.

The Archway symbolizes and honors the adventurous nature of the American spirit.

Our Mission

The Archway showcases our heritage, communicates our narrative, and motivates our guests to engage in the American experience of exploration, creativity, and excellence.

Staff Members

Kellie Risk
Guest Services/Volunteer Coordinator
Stacy Schwartz
Executive Director
Brandon Fix
Marketing/Event Coordinator

What’s Happening

For the most up-to-date information on The Archway, we encourage guests and supporters to subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on FaceBook/KearneyArchway. Stay informed about recent events, upcoming activities, press releases, and announcements. For any inquiries, please reach out to Stacy Schwartz. Thank you.

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Explore the essence of American exploration and discovery.

Since ancient times, the route along the Platte River in Nebraska, once called the Great Platte River Road, has served as a migratory pathway across the continent. From the era of the Oregon Trail to the present day, the Archway brings the history of the Great Platte River Road to life.

Central to the Archway experience is our historical exhibit, which honors the American spirit of exploration. Utilizing life-sized figures and personal audio guides, the Archway recounts the tale of America’s development. Visitors can walk alongside pioneers on the Oregon Trail, observe a Pony Express Station horse exchange, listen to Mark Twain’s story of a cross-country stage coach journey, witness the driving of the “Golden Spike” connecting the nation’s railways, and learn about life on the Lincoln Highway at a traveler’s campground.

Located at Exit 275 on I-80, a key coast-to-coast travel route today, the Archway commemorates the journeys of all adventurers who have traveled the river’s route – from those who contributed to our nation’s development in the past to those who are shaping our future today.

Archway Origins

The Archway was originally conceptualized by Frank Morrison, the 31st Governor of Nebraska, who served from 1961-1967. It was his vision to establish a lasting monument to the pioneers who traveled the Great Platte River Road and played a role in the development of America.

Consider the boldness and perseverance of those who embarked on the Oregon Trail, the adventurous spirit of those racing to California for the Gold Rush of 1849, the dedication of the Mormons seeking religious freedom in the west, the innovation behind the Pony Express, the hard work that went into building the Transcontinental Railroad, and the collaborative effort in creating “America’s Main Street,” the Lincoln Highway and Interstate Highway System. Visionary individuals came together to turn their dreams into reality and contribute to a collective venture greater than themselves. The Archway shares this compelling narrative and aims to inspire present-day adventurers to tackle modern challenges with courage and determination to continue building a nation we can all be proud of.

The Archway’s Unique Architectural Design

The Archway is a historical attraction showcasing exhibits, a shop, theater, and event space housed within a distinctive structure spanning I-80 at Exit 275. The building’s exterior design is inspired by a covered bridge, with colors representing a Midwest sunrise.

The construction of the Archway demonstrated impressive engineering and problem-solving skills. Engineers faced the challenge of erecting a 1,500-ton structure above a busy highway without disrupting traffic flow. To achieve this, they built two supporting towers on either side of the highway and constructed the arch section separately at ground level. The most complex part of the project involved lifting the arch section 22.5 feet into the air using hydraulic jacks, then transferring it onto special transporters to move it across the highway. This process took eight days.

On August 16, 1999, a section of the interstate was closed to allow the transporters to move the structure into place over concrete abutment walls. The arch segment was subsequently welded into place, and finishing touches were added. The Archway officially opened on June 9, 2000, welcoming over 1.5 million visitors who have been captivated by its spirit of adventure and exploration.

Find Your Way

I-80 Exit 275
Kearney, Nebraska