Scottsbluff, Nebraska to Bayard, Nebraska
After leaving Scotts Bluff National Monument, the Hawthornes headed to Chimney Rock National Historic Site, 4 1/2 miles south of Bayard, Nebraska.
Chimney rock is a famous, prominent geological rock formation in western Nebraska. The peak of Chimney Rock is 4226 feet above sea level. Based on paintings, sketches, and written accounts, Chimney Rock was taller when it was first seen by settlers, but has been reduced in height since then by erosion and a lightning strike in the 1990's. Here's an 1897 photograph of Chimney Rock by Nathaniel Darton. You can tell the difference in height from then and now.
Chimney Rock is a historic Oregon, Morman, and California Trails landmark. It signaled the end of the prairies to westward bound pioneers.
Click to enlarge. Not far from Chimney Rock, two sabertooth tigers were found together, with one's tooth locked in the upper arm bone of the other. Both died in combat.
Chimney Rock Cemetery During the westward migration through this pass many died as they looked for a better life.
"Wee Granny," Mary Murray Murdoch was one of them. Born in Scotland, October 13, 1782, she died near Chimney Rock, Nebraska, October 2, 1856. "Tell John I died with my face toward Zion." The Murdoch family dedicated the head stone June 24, 2001.