Passenger rail has been a valuable option in Nebraska. In the 1800s and well into the 1970s electric streetcars and passenger trains were part of public transportation for Nebraskans. Since electric streetcars were discontinued in the 1950s and commuter rail service was abandoned in the 1970s, there has been talk about whether to bring them back. The electric streetcar system helped grow our two major metro areas into monocentric cities, defined as having a single central business district, usually the downtown area (Moore, Thorsne, Appleyard, 2007). Examples of Lincoln and Omaha monocentric patterns can be seen in figures one and two.
One day in the summer of 1971, University of Nebraska’s paleontologist Mike Voorhies and his wife, Jane, were walking along a streambed tributary of Verdigre Creek, in Antelope County, gathering data for a planned geological map. Mike knew the area well, having grown up in the small town of Orchard, only eight miles away. Walking along the streambed ravine, he noticed an exposed layer of ash about a foot in thickness partway up the face of a steep ravine.