Kingsley Dam, completed in 1941, at a cost of approximately $61,400,000 is one of the largest earthen dams in the world. Located on the North Platte River, the dam towers 162 feet. The base measures 1,100 feet and tapers off to a 28-foot crest that carries State Highway 61. The crest or roadway is three miles in length.
Lake McConaughy is located on State Highway 61, just 18 miles northeast of Brule through Ogallala. It backs up into the valley for approximately 25 miles, is about 3 miles at its widest point, with a shoreline of 105 miles. Water is 140 feet deep near the base of the dam. The south side of the lake is only nine miles to Van’s Lakeview Fishing Camp.
The Nebraska Game & Parks Commission’s new Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area $2.5 million Visitor/Water Interpretive Center represents a unique public-private partnership. Perched on a bluff one-quarter mile south of Kingsley Dam overlooking Lake McConaughy, the 8,700 square foot facility houses administrative offices for both the Game & Parks Commission and Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District. The facility also includes: The Big Mac Community Room, two fresh water aquariums, 50 seat theater, reception area, information desk, gift shop, and public rest rooms.
Located downstream from the dam is Lake Ogallala, an offspring of the parent lake. Just to the east is Lake Keystone, impounded by the Keystone diversion dam.
An abundance of northern, walleyed pike, crappies, perch, bass, and trout makes these lakes a fisherman’s paradise. Not only a summertime sport, ice fishing is enjoyed in winter. Boating, fishing, swimming, waterskiing, hunting, and a multitude of other sports make this area ideal for tourists and sportsmen.
Other area attractions include hike-bike trail, softball complex, nature study park, Mansion on the Hill, Boot Hill, Little Church at Keystone, eagle viewing at Lake Ogallala, Ole’s Big Game Lounge in Paxton, Kenfield’s Petrified Wood Gallery, Diamond Springs Station, Ash Hollow-Lewellen, California Hill, and Buffalo Bill Ranch in North Platte.
Cultural activities are provided by the Ogallala Regional Arts Council and North Platte Concert Association, bringing operas, drama, and theatre to the area.