Ranches, Stations, and Posts along the Platte

“Prior to 1859 scattered references are found to fly-by-night trading establishments along the Platte and the North Platte, usually in portable tents or tipis operated by squaw men. Robidoux’s several posts in the Scott’s Bluff vicinity and Beauvais’ post at Old California Crossing were the only ones that had the semblance of permanent structures. If these were initiated by overland stage or Pony Express operators, they were called stations. If they were launched privately, as hostelries or or groceries and saloons, they were called ranches, in the singular sometimes spelled ‘ranche.’ If the army built or occupied an outpost to protect telegraph facilities (or later, Union Pacific Railroad construction), it would be designated a military post, even though the facilities might be meager. occasionally one outfit had a complex of buildings that served any two or all three purposes.”