Last in a series.
As a Nebraska town of fascinating sites and statewide leaders, McCook has long punched above its weight.
West-central Nebraskans could make a single day trip out of present and past Nebraska Passport attractions in McCook, an hour south of North Platte on U.S. Highway 83.
Do that, of course, and you’ll need a second outing to see the popular summer tourism program’s previous participants to McCook’s west and north as far as the Kansas and Colorado lines.
Only one attraction in the six-county region appears in the 2019 Passport program’s site list: Sehnert’s Bakery and The Bieroc Cafe, a downtown McCook fixture since 1957.
But Sehnert’s — named “The Nicest Place in Nebraska” by Reader’s Digest earlier this year — offers a tasty introduction to eight previous McCook Passport sites and other attractions in the Red Willow County seat.
If the bakery’s panoply of doughnuts and rolls don’t attract you, the adjoining cafe’s trademark “bierocs” — cabbage and beef rolls brought to America by ethnic Germans from Russia — likely will. They’re similar to (many would say better than) the namesake product of Runza Drive-Inns across the state.
If you start walking or driving north from Sehnert’s on Norris Avenue, you’ll view a procession of fascinating sites.
First is Nebraska’s only building — a lovingly restored private home — designed by the legendary U.S. architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Next comes the birthplace of former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, one of three Nebraska governors from McCook.
The Senator George Norris State Historic Site preserves the home of George W. Norris, who served in Congress for 40 years and inspired Nebraska voters’ 1934 creation of the nation’s only single-house, officially nonpartisan legislature.
Finally, on the opposite side of the street from all three homes, one can see an unusual all-metal, prefabricated “Lustron house” erected at 1303 Norris Ave. after World War II.