The Wagon Roads to the West

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  • Accomodation Line The stage coach route from Springfield, Ohio to Cincinnati, Ohio in the 1820s to 1830s.

  • Arkansas: Old Roads Most of the early roads in Northeast Arkansas had their beginnings in Indian trails. The Indians were a roving people who moved from one part of the country to another in quest of the best hunting grounds or on missions of war.

  • The Beale Wagon Road One of the three major routes to California prior to the Civil War. This road brought large numbers of people through northern Arizona. It was surveyed and constructed between 1857 and 1859 by Lieutenant Edward F. Beale, who commanded the Army's experimental Camel Corps in Arizona.

  • The Council Bluffs/Old Fort Kearny Road This road went from Ft. Leavenworth up the west side of the Missouri River to Ft. Calhoun in the vicinity of future Omaha. In 1836 the Whitman-Spalding party followed this route from Ft. Leavenworth to the Otoe Agency and Mission of 1835, located near the mouth of the Platte River at Bellevue, NE

  • The Dutch Flat-Donner Lake Wagon Road The wagon road, along which numerous inns and way stations were built, was the center of town. In those days the town was known as Coburn's Station after Samuel Shephard Coburn who ran his blacksmith shop and inn near this location.

  • Dutch Flat-Donner Lake Wagon Road Land Office Map from Bureau of Land Management, Sacramento, California

  • Early American Roads and Trails Descriptions of sixteen of the major early roads leading from East to West

  • The Great Pennsylvania Wagon Road To Georgia: "It was the most heavily traveled road in all America and must have had more vehicles jolting along its rough and tortuous way than all the other main roads put together."

  • History of Transportation to California Includes early crossings by pioneers, stage coach and wagon roads, a timeline, and more.

  • The Humboldt Wagon Road In 1860, John Bidwell and others realized the commercial advantages of establishing a route for transportation of passengers and goods to the newly discovered mines in Idaho. In 1863, the group was granted a franchise to construct a toll road from Chico to Honey Lake.

  • La Bajada Hill Wagon Road, NM On the ascent, mule and ox teams pulling wagons were doubled, adding hours of back-braking animal handling to the journey. On the way down the hill, ropes and boulders were used as wagon brakes, and whenever a complete stop was made, wheels had to be carefully chocked with chunks of basalt. The wagon road soon became the main route from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, taking all kinds of traffic including stagecoaches.

  • Lane's Trail and the Underground Railway In the wintry twilight of a January day in 1859, a small caravan of wagons occupied by 30 or 40 escaped slaves approached a log cabin dwelling in the southwest corner of Brown County, Kansas.

  • Major Graham's Wagon Route The mystery remains as to why Major Graham chose the route he did, which took three times longer from the San Pedro River to reach Tucson, AZ over the easier and shorter route of St. George Cooke.

  • The Meeteetsee Trail This old stage and freight road, founded in 1881 by the army, headed out of Red Lodge, Montana south to Meeteetsee, Wyoming. It is about 100 miles long.

  • The Oketo Cutoff of the Overland Trail Ben Holladay's Overland Stage followed a cutoff which left the Military Road about 1 mile west of Guittard's Station, Kansas crossing the Big Blue River at Oketo, about 10 miles north of Marysville, on the edge of the Otoe Indian Reservation.

  • Old Pennsylvania Wagon Road When the British captured Philadelphia, the Continental Congress escaped down the Pennsylvania Wagon Road. Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett traveled it. George Washington knew it as an Indian fighter. John Chisholm knew it as an Indian trader. Both the North and South would use it during the Civil War.

  • Old Roads in North Arkansas There were three great early immigrant routes or roads into and through Arkansas: one from north to south, and two from east to west. Each had intersections and connections with other shorter roads. This site discusses those three roads.

  • The Pacific Wagon Road In 1857 Congress authorized the survey and construction of the Pacific Wagon Road from Independence, MO, to Honey Lake, CA

  • The Parallel Road The road along the south boundary of Nemaha County in Kansas was known as the "Parallel." "Down on the Parallel" applied to farmers who lived in the area, and the road could be identified wherever encountered because north/south section line roads offset a hundred yards or more where they intersected the 1st Standard Parallel South.

  • Road and Turnpikes Marion County, Ohio. These first roads usually followed Indian war trails.

  • The Samtiam Wagon Road Unlike other wagon roads that were built to bring settlers to the Willamette Valley, the road was built to lead settlers and their livestock to the pasture lands of central Oregon. The road would get cattle to markets created by the gold mines in Idaho and eastern Oregon.

  • The Old Santiam Wagon Road On September 5, 1859 a party hardy explorers followed the course of the South Santiam River in an effort to locate a route over the Cascade Mountains to central Oregon.

  • The Old Wire Road The Old Wire Road...what an intriguing name. Quite simply it is a stretch of road extending from St. Louis, Missouri to Fort Smith, Arkansas along which were strung telegraph wires for communications purposes during the Civil War period. But it is more than that. It's true significance lies in the history of people who lived and events that transpired along it before it ceased to exist or was swallowed up by the elements or progress.

  • The Search for an Southern Overland Route to California Long before English settlers began to leave their boats to cut paths beyond the fall line of the James River on the East coast, trails in the Southwest between Spanish settlements in Mexico and New Mexico had been well-established and regularly used.

  • Surveys of Early Trails & Traces of Perry County, Indiana The first principle for any system of surveying is to determine a "point of beginning." As chairman of the committee which eventually developed the Land Act of 1785 Thomas Jefferson proposed a fairly comprehensive plan for measuring and selling the "Western lands."

  • Trans-Alaska Military Trail and Wagon Road Sections of the trail remain much the same today as when first built by soldiers and destitute prospectors hired by the Army in the summer of 1899.

  • Western North Carolina: Roads, Stage Coaches and Taverns It is probable that buffaloes made the first roads over these mountains, and that the Indians, following where they led, made their trading paths by pursuing these highways.

  • The Wilderness Road Roads and Trailways to Western North Carolina

  • The Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountain Road Cattle had become so numerous by 1859 that there was not enough grazing land in Willamette Valley and a route to central Oregon grasslands became urgent for summer grazing and for markets. A party hardy explorers followed the an old Indian trail along the course of the South Santiam River in an effort to locate a route over the Cascade Mountains to central Oregon.

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