Lighthouses of the United States: Nebraska

The U.S. state of Nebraska is in the center of the country, far from the coasts. The Missouri River, flowing along the eastern border of Nebraska, is the only major navigable waterway touching the state. The Coast Guard maintains lights on the river, but as far as I know none of them qualify as lighthouses. The lighthouses on this page were built privately.

Note: to be listed in the Directory, a lighthouse must actually serve as an aid to navigation. This means it must be located on a navigable lake or river and must be lit as a navigational aid at least during the local boating season.

Among lighthouse fans, Nebraska is best known for two historic faux lighthouses, Lake Minatare and Linoma Beach.

Special thanks to Ron Schooling for sharing his research on the lighthouses of Nebraska.

USCG numbers are from Volume 5 of the U.S. Coast Guard List of Lights.

Lake McConaughy Lighthouse
* The Dunes
2002. Active; focal plane unknown; continuous white light. 35 ft (11 m) round stone lighthouse with lantern and gallery. The tower is unpainted; lantern pained black. A small gazebo is adjacent to the lighthouse. A photo by Lori Parsons is at right, and Bing has a satellite view. Lake McConaughy is a large reservoir formed by damming the North Platte River in Keith County, north of Ogallala in western Nebraska. The lake is 22 mi (35 km) long and roughly 4 mi (6.5 km) wide over much of its length. The lighthouse is atop a bluff on the south side of the lake, about midway along its length. Located off Meadow Lane near the entrance to the Dunes at Lake McConaughy development. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: The Dunes at Lake McConaughy.

Omaha Lighthouse
* Glenn Cunningham Park
1990s (relocated here in 2009). Active; focal plane 34 ft (10.5 m); continuous white light. 22 ft (7 m) round steel tower with lantern, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Terry Schmidt has a photo, Stephen Wigg also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse was first installed in downtown Omaha on the Lewis and Clark Riverwalk. Later removed from that location, it was stored for several years before being reinstalled as part of a reconstruction of Glenn Cunningham Park. Located at the marina, at the southeastern corner of the park, on the north side of Omaha. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: City of Omaha (Glenn Cunningham Lake).
The Dunes Light
The Dunes Light, Lake McConaughy, February 2007
Flickr photo copyright Lori Parsons; used by permission

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

  • Harmon Park (1940), Kearney. The lighthouse was added to the Rock Garden built in 1937 by the Works Project Administration. Andrea Kelley has a photo, a history of the park is available, and Google has a street view, but trees hide the lighthouse in Google's satellite view.
  • Lake Minatare (1939), north of Scottsbluff in far western Nebraska, is a historic observation tower; it has never had a light. Barbara Morgan has a good closeup photo, a fine 2013 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The 55 ft (17 m) round unpainted stone tower was built by the Veterans Conservation Corps.
  • Linoma Beach (1939), beside US 6 at the Platte River, halfway between Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska, has never been an aid to navigation. Wikipedia has an article with a photo, a 2010 photo is available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The 100 ft (30.5 m) octagonal concrete lighthouse built as part of a privately owned resort. It was restored in 2013.

Adjoining pages: East: Iowa | Southeast: Missouri | South: Kansas

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Posted July 31, 2013. Checked and revised August 17, 2017. Lighthouses: 3. Site copyright 2017 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.