Washington--End of the Oregon Trail

image from NPS.gov

Hmmmm...just looked back for a post that would tell about visiting the National Frontier Trails Museum in Independence, MO or the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper,  WY but apparently I never blogged about the #korberoadtrip2015?  Yikes!  Not sure what happened there, but I can tell you that we had a great time and it only served to fuel our Oregon Trail interest.  Since we had visited the beginning of the trail in Independence, it seemed fitting that we also visit the end of the trail in Oregon City.  In Independence, we took a wagon ride and they taught us about what the area would have looked like in the 1840s and the decisions facing pioneers.  The End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Oregon City is built on Abernethy Green where pioneers gathered at the end of the journey and often camped through the winter after arriving in Oregon at the end of the summer.  They would replenish supplies and head out to homestead the following spring.

The interpretive center has several parts.  The first part is more of a traditional museum.  Many school groups visit, so they have lots of things for kids to touch and and do. There was an area that mimiced a schoolhouse...

There was an area where you could pack a wagon, and an area where they had out toys from the time period so kids could get an idea of the options pioneer kids had for entertainment.

The girls made candles...

They also had a section of the museum that they call the Henderson Farm.  It had a wagon with lots of historical items and a dress-up area.

We took food and picnicked on the grounds at the end of our visit.  There are lots of outdoor eating spaces, both covered and uncovered.

One of the highlights of the trip was the movie they showed.  It is narrated by John McLoughlin, who I didn't know much about.  Turns out he was a pretty important guy during this time in history!  He came to the area as a Canadian, running the Hudson's Bay Trading Company.  His job was to basically to discourage Americans from settling there.  He saw thousands of pioneers arrive and witnessed firsthand  their condition after struggling for months on end.  He offered assistance at times, and after retiring from the HBC, moved to Oregon City and continued to support emigrants.  Another time I'd like to go back and visit The McLoughlin House museum.

Although the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center has had a rough go of it during tough economic times, we are so glad it survived and hope to see it thrive in the future.  We really enjoyed our visit!