Registered National Historic Landmark
Wagon wheels cut solid rock, carving a memorial to Empire Builders. what manner of men and beasts impelled conveyances weighting on those griding wheels? Look! A line of shadows crossing boundless wilderness.
Foremost, nimble mules drawing their carts, come poised Montain Men carrying trade goods to a fur fair — the Rendezvous. So, in 1830, Bill Sublette turns the first wheels from St. Louis to the Rocky Mountains! Following his faint trail, a decade later and on throught the 1860's, appear straining, twisting teams of oxen, mules and heavy draft horses drawing Conestoga wagons for Oregon pioneers. Trailing the Oregon-bound avant garde
but otherwise mingling with those emigrants, inspired by religious fervor, loom footsore and trail worn companies — Mormons dragging or pushing handcarts as they follow Brigham Young to the Valley of the Salt Lake. And, after 1849, reacting to a differnt stimulus but sharing the same trail, urging draft animals to extremity, straining resources and often failing, hurry gold rushers California bound.
A different breed, no emigrants but enterprisers and adventurers, capture the 1860's scene. They appear, multi-teamed units in draft — heavy wagons in tandem, jerkline operators and bullwhackers delivering freight to Indian War outposts and agencies. Now the apparition fades in a changing environment. Dimley seen, this last commerce serves a new, pastoral society; the era of the cattle baron and the advent of settlement blot the Oregon Trail.