October 4, 2015

10/1/15 - End of the Oregon Trail

The Oregon Trail began in Independence, Missouri.  We were there last spring and visited the National Frontier Trails Museum. Last year we went to the National Historic Trail Interpretive Center in Casper, Wyoming, and the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City, Oregon. We've stopped at landmarks for the pioneers, like Chimney Rock, Scotts Bluff and Independence Rock. We've walked in wagon ruts. I even read a book of journals from women who were on the Oregon Trail.

I thought we might as well finish it up so we went to the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Oregon City, Oregon. The museum, theater and outdoor stage are covered with hooped frames to look like the bows on a covered wagon. (I assume they've always been sans canvas.)
By the time the emigrants got to the end of the trail, they'd covered about 2,200 miles and had been travelling 4-6 months!!!  

Inside Wagon I are displays about the Beginning of the Journey. There's a mural on one wall of a map of the Barlow Road.  (That's what the emigrants called the Oregon Trail which ended up in this part of Oregon.) There's an Interpreter and a bunch of stuff for kids.  Inside the Missouri Room are exhibits of what the families left behind. I liked the "Myth & Truth" plaques--you can see one of them if you check out the link to more pictures below.
Wagon II is the theater, where you watch a video about the pioneers' experiences on the trail.

Wagon III is called "End of the Journey", and has more exhibits, these with displays on tools and equipment the emigrants used when they finally got to Oregon Territory.
Outside is marker for the end of the trail placed by the county historical society.
Surprisingly, the end of the trail center was as big a disappointment as the beginning of the trail center . They were actually interesting for small town museums.  But as big a hype as the Oregon Trail gets at the intermediate stops, I expected more and this was really anticlimactic. Sort of like a movie that's got a slow beginning and a wimpy ending, but with some pretty good stuff in the middle.

Click for a few more pictures:  End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

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