As a former Nebraska resident I enjoy keeping up with everything happening in North Platte vicariously through the North Platte Bulletin. I have never stepped foot inside the Pawnee Hotel, and I've only seen pictures of the interior online. As long as the Pawnee Hotel has been standing, and having served as a major place for layovers on the railroad back in the day, I'm certain there must be volumes of stories to be told about the place.
Tonight, quite by accident, I was looking up some information, when I discovered that the late night king of television, Johnny Carson, married his first wife in North Platte and had their wedding reception at the Pawnee Hotel. How many people know this?
I know the Pawnee is in trouble as an assisted living home for low income folks. I don't want to see them evicted and I don't want to see the Pawnee end up abandoned and eventually torn down. It would also be great if one of the sign shops in North Platte or the downtown merchants could restore that faded, sad looking 'Pawnee Hotel' sign on the southeast corner of the building simply to improve the appearance of the downtown area from looking so run down.
The point that I am trying to make here is that North Platte needs to rally around saving this building. I can't think of any better use right now other than assisted living, but all the same, there is probably a treasure chest of history there just waiting to be dusted off and rediscovered. I just don't want to see this place go the way of the UPRR Depot in North Platte.
Keep up the good work with telling the stories of how North Platte came to be what it is today.
By Mark McCormick, Slanton, Texas