Crawford (Nebraska)

Crawford is a small rural city of about 1,000 people in the Nebraska Panhandle in Dawes County, near the northwest corner of the state. It is three miles east of Fort Robinson State Park.


Downtown Crawford, from Linn St., late 1910's or early 1920's

When the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad came through the Nebraska panhandle in 1886, a tent city sprang up three miles east of military post Fort Robinson. The town was named after the late cavalry officer Lt. Emmet Crawford, who had been previously stationed at the Fort. In its early years, Crawford provided entertainment for the soldiers stationed at nearby Fort Robinson, giving the town a reputation for being wild and rowdy. It was an important point for commerce for many years, being located at the junction of two railroads. Crawford's economy also depended largely on Fort Robinson up through World War II, when the Fort contained a German POW camp and a training site for military dogs. Crawford has since transformed into a quiet rural town. The main local industries are agriculture and uranium mining. The town has become popular as a hunting destination and is visited by tourists traveling to and from the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota. Fort Robinson, a state park since 1955, has become a travel destination in itself.

Get in

Crawford is located at the junction of U.S. Highway 20 and Nebraska Highways 2 and 71 and is accessible exclusively by car. The nearest airport is Chadron Municipal Airport, located approximately 25 miles east of Crawford in Chadron.

Get around

The city limits of Crawford are roughly one square mile in size, small enough to walk around in. Travel by car is obviously an option also. The town is connected to Fort Robinson by highway and also by a walking path, beginning at the entrance to Crawford's city park. Crawford's small downtown district can be accessed by turning west on Main Street from Nebraska Highway 2/71 or turning north on 2nd Street from U.S. Highway 20.


Crawford's Adams Block downtown, housing the Crawford Historical Museum


Fort Robinson's former post headquarters, now the Fort Robinson Museum


Crawford's small downtown district contains most of the town's shopping options. The businesses include a grocery store, hardware store, pharmacy, quilt shop, second-hand store, several restaurants and bars, and a gift shop or two.



Corner Bar and Crawford Pharmacy downtown


There are also multiple bed-and-breakfasts in the rural area surrounding Crawford. Crawford City Park, located at the west end of Main Street, has free camping and electrical hookups; just be aware that the railroad tracks are close to the park and the trains whistle frequently.


Crawford does have cell phone coverage, although the networks of certain providers require some cell phone users to be out-of-doors to get good reception. Wi-Fi is available at the Crawford Public Library (601 2nd Street, on the south edge of the downtown district).

Go next

Scottsbluff and Scotts Bluff National Monument are approximately an hour and a half's drive south of Crawford. Chadron, with its museums and state park, is 25 miles east of town. Black Hills National Forest, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Sturgis, and Deadwood are all north of Crawford in South Dakota.

Routes through Crawford

Casper Lusk  W  E  Chadron Valentine
Hot Springs becomes  W  E  Alliance Grand Island
Hot Springs becomes  N  S  Scottsbluff Kimball

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, June 20, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.