Monday, October 3, 2016

The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

We went to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.  It's worth visiting.  The exhibits are really well done.  The oxen look very real, I felt like their eyes were following me.
A few fun facts from the exhibit.  Three hundred thousand people made the trip across the country between the mid 1830s and late 1860s.  It was 2,000 miles, and people walked most of the distance. One in ten died on the trip and were buried along the way.  It was the largest unforced migration ever.
The trail started on the banks of the Missouri River, and ended in Oregon City, OR.  The settlers were headed for the Willamette Valley.  They were on the move for arable land and space.

Life was hard for the little people.

The wagons were uncomfortable, there were no springs.  The wheel hubs had to be lubricated with a mixture of animal fat and pine tar.

The view from the center.

Here are the wagon tracks.  In places, they were seven feet deep.  The wagon trains made lasting impressions on the country.  Unfortunately, fewer and fewer sections of the trail still exist.  Roads and development have taken them away.

If you're interested, there is a book out on the subject.  There is also this web site.


  1. I love reading the stories of the hardy souls who crossed the country in the 1800's. What a difficult life the trail was, and once they reached their destinations it continued to be hard starting their new life. Simply amazing stories.

  2. Growing up and being an avid reader, I especially loved Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books. I had an incredibly romantic notion about covered wagons. I know differently now. We have seen portions of the Oregon Trail in our travels, but your post does help put the hardships of those who traveled it into perspective. Thanks.