The Oregon Trail was the main street of the west from the 1830's to the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869. Farmers, townsmen and restless Americans from all walks of life moved along this route seeking a better life in a new land.
Fur trappers and traders, following Indian trails, opened the way. The Stuart party of John Jacob Astor's fur company pioneered the route in 1812 from Astoria, Oregon to St. Louis, Missouri. These "mountain men" guided explorers, missionaries and the first emigrants.
By 1848, thousands of men, women and children had followed this trail to the lush, fertile Willamette River Valley. The journey was 2,000 miles of plains, mountains and deserts - ONE STEP AT A TIME. Their visions of personal freedom and opportunity were vital to national expansion.