This is Rock Creek Station State Historical Park post is the first is a special 4-part summer 2014 travel series by travel blogger and mom, Kathleen Bunn. She blogs about her amazing travels at Life with 4 Boys where you can check out her travels by state as well as find other fun lifestyle content. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Touring the Past at Rock Creek Station State Historical Park

The migration West by tens of thousands of settlers on the Oregon Trail reshaped our country in more ways that one. Evidence of this can still be seen at Rock Creek Station State Historical Park in Nebraska. Within this quaint state park, you can see the deep rivets carved into the countryside by the many covered wagons that passed through the land. The history doesn’t stop there, this land was also home to a Pony Express Station, and is the location where Wild Bill Hickok first got his name as a gunslinger.

Rock Creek Station State Historical Park. 57426 710 Rd. Fairbury, NE
email: [email protected] (402) 729-5777 Call Center (402) 471-1414
Open year round –  interpretive center, picnic areas, hiking and nature trails, tent camping, horse camping and a modern campground with services

Rock Creek Station State Historical Park: The Oregon Trail

Rock Creek Station State Historical Park: Wild Bill Hickok

The land that now is protected within Rock Creek Station SHP was once part of the Oregon Trail. In addition to seeing the deep grooves left by the many covered wagons, that now resemble rolling hills more than ruts, visitors can see remains of the roadside store setup by ??? McCanles. McCanles was headed West himself when he was discouraged by those returning with nothing from California, so he instead purchased the land at Rock Creek Station and began selling goods to those passing by.

Rock Creek Station State Historical Park: The Pony Express

Rock Creek Station State Historical Park: The Pony Express

McCanles also developed a small farm with a homestead and barn across Rock Creek and ended up selling it to the company that owned the Pony Express. A Pony Express station was set up on the land, and you can see a recreation of it when visiting the park today . The company also hired some hands to help run the farm, one of which was Bill Hickok.

Rock Creek Station State Historical Park: Wild Bill Hickock

Rock Creek Station State Historical Park: Wild Bill Hickok

The company originally gave McCanles a lump sum for the property, but were supposed to continue making monthly payments. When they fell behind, McCanles went to the farm to confront the occupant. Bill Hickok ended up killing him and wounding two others that day, although the facts are unclear as to what exactly went down. Today, you can tour a recreation of that farm and the home that sits on the site where that fateful event occurred. The event that earned Bill Hickok the nickname of Wild Bill, and started his career as a gunslinger.

Rock Creek Station State Historical Park is an area steeped in Western history. With a wealth of information and a wide range of activities, it is a family favorite and perfect summer destination. For information on booking a camping stay in the adjoining campground, or for more information on the park itself, visit the Rock Creek State Historical Park website.