Situated at the junction of the North Platte and South Platte rivers, North Platte has a long history as an important stopping point in the westward migration of from the days of the California gold rush to the building of the transcontinental railroad and beyond. The Oregon Trail to the gold rush followed the South Platte River, and the Mormon Trail followed the North Platte River. In 1866 the building of the Union Pacific railroad stopped at North Platte for the winter. The railroad brought the town of North Platte to life. In 1869 the Union Pacific built a huge depot and hotel which stood until destroyed by fire in 1915. It entertained many famous visitors including William F. Cody, George Armstrong Custer, Bat Masterson, and Teddy Roosevelt. Since the 1920s North Platte has grown considerably, helped by the transcontinental Lincoln Highway which still runs through town. North Platte also had the first lighted runway in the United States, used for the air mail planes of the 1920s.