Delegating Denver #31 of 56: Nebraska

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Most Nebraskan Neighborhood: Bear Valley

Most Nebraskan Bar: Appaloosa Grill 535 16th Street Mall (at Welton Street) The live local acts at this club are as varied as the roster of Omaha's Saddle Creek Records.

Most Nebraskan Restaurant: Elway's Downtown 1881 Curtis Street This steakhouse, owned by a professional football player, is pure Nebraska nirvana.

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Best Day Trip: Georgetown Loop Railroad

In 1864, Golden businessman William A.H. Loveland planned to build arailroad up Clear Creek Canyon, with hopes of breaching theContinental Divide and reaping the wealth from Leadville mines. Doing so would help make his small town in Jefferson County a transportation hub and, hence, the state capital. His Colorado Central Railroad finally reached Georgetown in August of 1877. Lack of fundsand the steep grades beyond forced him to look to Nebraska-based Union Pacific Railroad for help. Robert Blickensderfer, an engineer from Omaha, solved the geographical problems of getting the train up the 6 percent grade to Silver Plume with a series of curves and one grand loop whereby the track crossed over itself via a 300-foot-long trestle nearly 100 feet above Clear Creek. When work crews reached Silver Plume, the money ran out. By that time, a rival railroad company had made it to Leadville and Denver had been selected as the capital city. But in a strange twist of fate, the fortunes of the Colorado Central were helped a second time, by yet another Nebraskan. Photographer William Henry Jackson, dissatisfied with his portrait-studio business, left Omaha to document the landscapes of the West. The photographs he took of the new Georgetown Loop in March 1884 were used in promotions across the country. As time went by, tourists came in increasing numbers to "do the loop." Tourist revenues were vital to the railroad's existence. Sadly, much of the rail line was pulled up in 1939 and replaced with the asphalt of U.S. Highway 6, which was later widened into I-70. Delegates need only follow the interstate to Exit 226 at Silver Plume to experience the little loop that remains as tribute to our twisted neighbors to the northeast. — Kenny Be

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