Yesterday we had passed by Ash Hollow and its historic marker on the way to Ogallala, so today we drove back to tour the area.
Ash Hollow is where the pioneers had to come down steep trails from traveling along the ridges of the high plains. It was a sharp descent to a place with water for the pioneers to rest and make repairs.
The stones surrounding the historic marker are the remains of the homestead dwelling of Reverend Dennis B. Clary, a pioneer Methodist Minister, who received final patent for his homestead May 22, 1899. Mr. Clary immigrated to Nebraska in 1885. Using a horse drawn cart fashioned from available materials, he hauled stone to this site for a two room house. For years this was a land mark in Ash Hollow and marked the location of Windlass Hill. It was a popular stopping place for settlers traveling from the North Platte Valley.
The repairs were needed not just from coming across the prairie, but mostly from the treacherous descent down Windlass Hill. Clary offered help to those pioneer wagon trains passing by. It was rather comical to see that (modern) people have left boots and shoes top the barbed wire fence. We’ve seen this every now and then as we travel the plains.
There is a cemetery nearby where young Rachel is buried. She was an 18 yr old bride, who got sick in the morning and died that same night of cholera.
We went down into Ash Hollow cave, a hollow formation where many different prehistoric people sought shelter. It is well hidden from predators and was formed by layers of sediment and ash thousands of years ago.
We wandered around the visitor center, checking out the 1903 stone schoolhouse which had replaced an older sod schoolhouse on Windlass Hill.
If you would like to read more about this area, here is Ash Hollow History
Later on we found the Ogallala Elks Lodge for happy hour and visiting with a friendly group.
The last photo is of a Standard Oil Red Crown filling station of 1922 era. The historic Spruce Street Station with pumps from the 1930’s is owned by the city. The completely renovated station is a visitors center during the summer, with a garage available year round as a venue for groups and gatherings.