Touring our facility, you will experience some of the most colorful and important eras in western civilization – prehistoric through modern.
Wyoming, Fremont County and especially the Lander Valley, played key roles for many ancient, nomadic peoples, as well as for those courageous individuals who crossed this North American continent under primitive and perilous conditions to settle our nation from coast to coast.
An ancient game trail was next used by Indians, and then – at the turn of the 18th century – was travelled by fur trappers and traders. Their stories of Wyoming’s spectacular beauty, fertile farm lands, favorable climate and bountiful natural resources reached the East. Following the Civil War, many expeditions were organized westward to find the best overland route across the continent.
Scores of routes (also called trails) sprang up: the California Trail, the Mormon Trail and others. The most notable of these, however, was that old game trail – which became known as “The Oregon Trail”. The Great Westward Migration began in 1843 and was down to a trickle by the 1890’s, with the coming of the transcontinental rail road in 1869. The 2,170-mile Oregon Trail carried upwards of 500,000 settlers from Independence, Missouri, through the Lander Valley and South Pass to California, Oregon and Washington.
This all happened as recently as 125 years ago – and feet from where you will be standing when you visit us at the Fremont County Pioneer Museum!