Burlington Depot




Adams County, and Hastings in particular, are "children of the railroads," having been founded and sustained by rail companies between the 1870s and 1960s. Hastings owes its very existence to an intersection of two railways, the Burlington and Missouri River and the St. Joseph and Denver City lines.

By 1879, just seven years after it was established, trains were leaving the city in five different directions every morning and evening. By the end of the 1880s at least ten different companies had built lines in Adams County. Thanks to the railroads, Hastings was the third largest city in the state by its second decade, only Omaha and Lincoln being larger.

Although most of Hastings is built on former Union Pacific land, Adams County has always been Burlington country. Known as the Burlington and Missouri River (1871), the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (1880) the Burlington Northern (1970) and the Burlington-Santa Fe (1995), the railroad built its main line through the county, constructed the most elaborate depot and had a division office here the longest. It was the Burlington which brought the fabled Zephyr to Adams County, and on its road, Nebraska's last commercial passenger trains, via Amtrak, continue to run.

When the Burlington Railway Depot was completed in 1902, Hastings was the third largest railroad center in Nebraska. Designed by Omaha architect, Thomas R. Kimball, the station is an example of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. Shown here is the covered portico extending from the central pavilion to track side to offer protection to passengers. The building , which welcomed presidents Taft, Truman and Eisenhower, is on the National Register of Historic Places.