A "wide spot in the road" is fading away
My address, when I was growing up, was Rose, Nebraska. Rose is on Highway 183, more or less midway in the 60 miles between Bassett and Taylor, Nebraska.
When I was little (1950s), the blacktop road from Bassett ended just south of the Rose Trading Post, and the next 30 miles to Taylor were gravel road. A couple of miles after the road turned to gravel, it passed Grandpa and Grandma (Gilbert and Christina) Swinney's house, which was the Rose post office.
By the time I was 10 or so (early 1960s), Highway 183 was paved all the way from Bassett to Taylor. Not long after that, Grandma Swinney retired as postmistress, and the post office was moved from her house to the Rose Trading Post.
After acquiring the post office, the Trading Post earned the honor of having the "Rose" highway sign there also. It always read, "Rose, population 2."
Rose was in its heyday during the time that I was growing up. The store sold groceries and necessities, livestock feed, and gasoline. Another building housed the Swanson Brothers' machine repair shop. (They moved their operation to Bassett around 1960.)
The Rose Community Hall was located just north of the Trading Post, and it was used for dances, 4-H and extension club meetings, Thanksgiving potlucks and Christmas programs, and as a polling place during elections.
We lived about four and a half miles west of Rose, as the crow flies. We could have driven through pastures, but by real roads, it was about eight miles. I looked forward to my mother going to the Rose store because I might be able to talk her into buying me some bubble gum or perhaps even a bottle of pop.
When Mike and Mildred Riley were running the Rose Trading Post, Mildred had a beauty shop in a room between the store and the living quarters. My Grandma Nora liked to go there to have her hair done, and I remember going with her to have a perm put in my hair once, courtesy of Grandma.
About 1970, several rural schools in the area consolidated and built a community school at Rose. I believe my sister-in-law Kathy taught there the first year that the Rose School opened. She was young and single, and she boarded with my parents. She and my brother became interested in each other, and the rest is history. They've been married for around 35 years now.
The last few decades have been hard on Rose. Population in the county has decreased, and Rose has been one of the casualties. I don't know if Rose still gets a dot on the Nebraska map or not, but it won't completely vanish as long as the school is there.
The community hall is still there, too, and it's probably still used for some of the same events that I remember attending there.
The Trading Post has closed. The machine shop has, I believe, stood empty since the Swanson Brothers moved out.
The post office was located in the community hall for a while, but now it has closed permanently. You can still address a letter to Rose, but the Bassett post office handles that zip code.
Cowboy poet Baxter Black gave Rose a bit of immortality in "Sandhills Savior", a poem about the windmills in the Nebraska Sandhills.
... From Thedford to Hyannis, from Valentine to Rose
Across that sandy country where the prairie grass still grows
You'll see those man-made daisies, silhouettes against the sky
Their steel petals gleaming on their stalks eighteen feet high...