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Photo of the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center
End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, 1996

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End of the Oregon Trail
A Local Legacy

Why are those three covered wagons surrounded by a fence? If you look closer you'll see that they aren't the kind of covered wagons you can ride in. They are being used as a canopy for the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, a museum devoted to the history of the Oregon Trail.

The Oregon Trail was a route used by people who traveled to Oregon Country, which is what Oregon was called before it became a state in 1859. The Oregon Trail was the most popular way to get to Oregon Country from about 1843 through the 1870s. The trail started in Missouri and covered 2,000 miles before ending in Oregon City.

Most people moving west traveled in covered wagons, which were large enough for all their belongings as well as the food they needed for a journey that could take months. The wagons also provided shelter from the weather. Teams of oxen or mules pulled the wagons along the dusty trail. People didn't ride in the wagons often, because they didn't want to wear out their animals. Instead they walked alongside them, getting just as dusty as the animals. The long journey was hard on both people and animals. It was even hard on the wagons, which usually had to be repaired several times during the trip.

To help remember the hardships these pioneers faced, Oregon City constructed this museum so others could learn about the lives and experiences of these pioneers.

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