Heading west from Ogallala on I-80, you’ll come to Big Springs. Heading west from Ogallala on I-80, you’ll come to Big Springs. The first and largest robbery of a Union Pacific train happened here in 1877. Texas outlaw Sam Bass and five companions made off with $60,000 in gold and currency. Some say that part of the loot is still buried in the hills nearby. A historical marker at Eiker Park, tells the story of the famous robbery.
The town is named for a natural spring. From the town’s founding through 1950, the spring supplied water for Union Pacific steam locomotives. Today, walking trails at Eiker Park provide for an easy stroll to the spring.
The Phelps Hotel was built in 1885 to house railroad workers between shifts. It is open for tours by appointment. (308) 889-3625. Western Nebraska is sod house country. The Waterman Sod House is among the last of them still standing five miles north of Big Springs on Day Road. Contact the Big Springs Chamber of Commerce. (308) 889-3681.