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Women on the Trail

Women on the Trail

“It strikes me as I think of it now — of course, I was a girl, too young then to know much about it — but I think now the mothers on the road had to undergo more trial and suffering than anybody else. The […]

Where Did the Trail Go?

Where Did the Trail Go?

DIDN’T THE OREGON TRAIL GO BY HERE? Across the street from Barton Store in Clackamas County is a triangular sign bearing the National Park Service’s Oregon Trail wagon logo and the words “Route of the Oregon Trail.” It is on the closest well-maintained road to […]

Wagons

Wagons

PRAIRIE SCHOONERS The most common wagons used for hauling freight back East were the Conestogas, developed in Pennsylvania by descendants of German colonists. Conestoga wagons were large, heavy, and had beds shaped somewhat like boats, with angled ends and a floor that sloped to the […]

Trail FAQs

Trail FAQs

What is the Oregon Trail? In its earliest days, the Oregon Trail was a 2000 mile long string of rivers and natural landmarks that could be followed from Missouri to Oregon. It was easy to get lost without a guide who knew the way. In […]

Outfitting for the Journey

Outfitting for the Journey

It is believed that over 200 steam-powered riverboats sank in the Missouri River during the mid-Nineteenth Century. Two of them were excavated in 1988. One, the Bertrand, was brought to light 120 years after sinking in what is now part of the DeSoto National Wildlife […]

Oregon Trail Overview

Oregon Trail Overview

Oregon’s history is deeply tied to its trails. The routes followed by American explorers stretched across the Oregon Country a full 50 years before the Oregon Trail migrations of the mid-1800s. Until the late 1700s, the western regions of the continent were populated exclusively by […]

Oregon Trail Chronology

Oregon Trail Chronology

For twenty five years, as many as 650,000 people may have pulled up stakes and headed for the farms and gold fields of the West. No accurate records exist of traffic on the great overland trails of that era, and some believe the figure may […]

Oregon Trail Mileposts

Oregon Trail Mileposts

Three days’ travel out of Independence, the untried, greenhorn Oregon Trail pioneers came upon a hill rising from the flat grassland around it. Blue Mound seemed strangely out of place in the midst of the prairie. Eager emigrants climbed it to get a look at […]

Oregon Fever

Oregon Fever

Secretary of State James Buchanan received a letter in 1849 describing San Francisco and Monterey. It said that three-fourths of the houses were deserted or selling for the price of the building lot. Every blacksmith, carpenter, and lawyer had left. Brickyards, sawmills, and ranches were […]

Oregon City and the Trail

Oregon City and the Trail

Near the mouth of the Clackamas River, there once stood an old, moss-covered, seemingly dilapidated house 300 feet long. In it lived the entire Clackamas Indian tribe. The Indians along this portion of the Wal-lamt, or Willamette, River were hosts to the hundreds of migrating […]