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North Platte High Class of 57 reunitesTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Shady Inn menu
Photo by George Lauby
Replica of the Shady Inn (click or tap on images to enlarge)
Photo by George Lauby
Classmates Charlee Eggert and Sharron Hewgley
Courtesy Photo­Image
Drawing of the old North Platte Senior High by Gary Webster of the Class of 1957.
Photo by George Lauby
High school replica
Photo by George Lauby
Tastee Treet replica
Photo by George Lauby
Replica of the Cedar Bowl on Rodeo Road
Photo by George Lauby
Replica of the Union Pacific Railroad Depot

This weekend is a big one for the Class of ’57, which, as the Statler Brothers sang, had its dreams.

Up to 40 of those classmates are expected to get together Friday-Sunday, Sept. 8-10, and celebrate the 60th anniversary of their graduation from North Platte High.

This reunion will be held at the Quality Inn and Suites / Sandhills Convention Center.

Back in 1957, the Shady Inn was the place to go in North Platte. The Inn stood at First and Jeffers, the location today of 3 Margarita's restaurant.

In the 1950s at the Shady Inn, hamburgers cost just 20 cents, as did French fries, sundaes and ice cream sodas. The most expensive item on the menu was ham and eggs, which cost 60 cents.

This year on the same weekend, the Col. Cody Show and Shine will be held on the bricks downtown. Reunion organizer Sharron Hewgley hopes an iconic 1957 Chevy will be on hand for classmates to gather round and remember.

Remembering the Good Old days is the theme of the weekend, Hewgley said, and they were truly good days.

Elvis, Pat Boone, Patsy Cline, Ernest Tubb and Johnny Cash were popular musicians -- golden music, she said. 

“And, we were free. We ran all over town, at least until the 10 p.m. curfew,” she said. “There were no worries. We didn’t have to lock our doors.”

Classmate Charlotte Eggert agreed.

“It was really a good time to be in high school,” Eggert said. “North Platte was cleaned up after the days of Annie Cook, and it was before the 60s.”

Hewgley said the Class of ‘57 was a close, friendly group. There was no bickering.

Eggert worked at another fast food drive-in through high school – the Snow White at Jeffers and Rodeo Road. Another drive-in was popular a couple blocks away, Ellett’s Tastee Freeze.

The Fox Theater was a great place to go on weekends, Hewgley said.

“I went every weekend,” Hewgley said. “There would sometimes be a double feature and when it was over, the movies would all start again. You could go at noon and stay until it closed. During high school, a student ticket was only 50 cents.”

“I don’t know how a man can take a date to the movies these days, when a movie for two costs more like $25,” she said.

One of the dreams of the Class of ’57 was to create enduring replicas of popular North Platte places that were later torn down or put to different uses, including Joe’s Supper Club, the Cedar Bowl on Rodeo Road, the Union Pacific RR Depot, the old high school and the arch across U.S. Highway 30 that welcomed travelers to the home of Buffalo Bill.

Eggert is a noted master set designer for the North Platte Community Playhouse, and under her careful guidance 10 years ago, she and four other class members – Hewgley, Ruth Berglund, Nellie Catterson and Janet Schroeder -- built replicas of those places in time for their 50th class reunion.

It took many long hours, Hewgley recalled. It took about 30 hours just to build the replica of the old high school. Catterson spent another 30 hours cutting out the windows.

After they had the first replicas made, Eggert spent another 40 hours building the train depot.

Those replicas have been displayed ever since at the Lincoln County Historical Museum.

“It was a labor of love,” Hewgley said. “It’s a tribute to our class and to North Platte.”

This year, the class plans to visit the historical museum, as well as the Golden Spike tower, the Prairie Arts Center and another place or two, such as the Fox Theater.  

Anyone interested in visiting with class members is invited to the Quality Inn on Friday, Sept. 8 after 6:30 p.m.

The class normally gets together every five years, but its numbers are dwindling.

Hewgley said the class has lost 103 members, out of 180-200 graduates.

“This could be our last reunion. Most of us are approaching our 80s,” she said, although she showed no sign of slowing down as she encouraged visitors on Friday to come to the hospitality suite at the Quality Inn.

“Look for the room where all the action is,” she laughed.

(This article was first published in the Bulletin's Aug. 30 print edition.)

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 9/7/2017
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