Trail Ramblings: Riding Through History


It’s great to see so many people out using our trails. This was a banner weekend on the MoPac which was teeming with walkers, runners and cyclists. Black walnuts are starting to show up on the trail looking like lime green golf balls, telling us where those trees are located and the wild plums are beginning to show a blush of color, telling us fall is not far off. The closure of the Rock Island and the Jamaica trails may be causing more traffic on the MoPac and other open trails and that will be the case for a while yet, but time on a trail is always time well spent, in my opinion, even if it gets a little crowded at times.


Just how much do you know about the MoPac trail, though? Did you know that there are two cold war era Atlas missile silos located along the MoPac on the other Side of Eagle and near Elmwood? (There are 10 more in this area.)They reach 10 stories underground and there is little trace of them left above ground, but they were busy places from 1961 until decommissioned in 1965.
The Missouri Pacific Railroad had a daily train to Lincoln that my grandmother could take from Wabash to Lincoln and back again in the days when railroad travel was common and there was twice a day mail delivery. I occasionally ride the same rail bed by bicycle today, though not as fast. Back in Lincoln a few years after passenger service had started to be replaced by the automobile, had you ridden what is now the MoPac trail near 56th Street, you would have passed a large turkey farm stretching almost to “O” Street, still well outside the city limits. Even in those days, however, you could likely have enjoyed the Black walnuts and wild plums now beginning to ripen along the old railway.