In the early 1800's, much of the travel to the west was on trails like the "Cumberland Road," later called the "National Road," which funneled early pioneers into the midwest. In the early- to mid-1800's, pioneers began to travel farther west on the Oregon Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, and other major wagon train routes. By the middle of the century, the railroads were beginning to make travel easier, and in 1869 the transcontinental railroad was completed, making it possible to ride coast to coast
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May 22, 1843, the first major wagon train headed for the American Northwest w 1000 pioneers from Elm Grove, Missouri on the Oregon Trail - a 2,000-mile historic east-west wagon route & emigrant trail connecting the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon & locations in between.The eastern part of the Oregon Trail spanned parts of what is now Kansas & most all of what are now the states of Nebraska & Wyoming. The western half of the trail spanned most of the future states of Idaho & Oregon
Ezra Meeker, (1830-1928) As a young man, he was a pioneer who traveled the Oregon Trail by covered wagon. Beginning in his 7O's, he worked tirelessly to memorialize the trail, repeatedly retracing the trip of his youth. He brought publicity to the Oregon Trail, marking it with monuments in communities along the way, so that its historical significance would not be lost.