The Grand Island Independent reports that Shady Bend, a popular Lincoln Highway attraction on the east end of Grand Island, Nebraska, is being partially revived.
The mostly-cleared site has been bought by Craig Woodward, a grandson of founder H.O. Woodward. All that remains from the once-thriving site at US 30 and Shady Bend Road is the former Spanish-Revival gas station, which has been a tavern in recent decades. Still, the Shady Bend Gas Station, Grocery and Diner is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and so Woodward, his wife Karen, and their daughter Jennifer Drapel are working to reopen the bar and restaurant. The business was started in 1929 and grew to include gas, food, and lodging in more than 30 tourist cabins, but the most famous of its attractions was a buffalo herd:
“I grew up thinking that everyone had buffalo in their yard,” Craig said.
He soon realized his grandfather and father’s diner was more than the average family business.
“Everyone I run into is excited to bring this place back,” he said. “They remember the buffalo, they remember eating there and hanging out there.”
For the past few years, the Shady Bend has been rented or vacant. Craig took sole ownership at the beginning of the year.
“We truly would like to have a gathering place again,” he said.
The state LHA newsletter “Linc” Across Nebraska has an in-depth story on it in its July 2008 issue by Lenore Stubblefield, who also provided the top image. She recalls a playground, sandy beach lake, tile tennis courts, and the restaurant’s most expensive meal, a T-bone stteak for 65¢. The cabins (later apartments) closed in 1981, The station was luckily spared in 1994 and 2004 road widenings, and will again be serving travelers.