Oregon Trail Kiosk - Vale, Oregon
Posted by: Volcanoguy
N 43° 58.975 W 117° 14.154
11T E 481081 N 4870002
Quick Description: Seven History Signs about the Oregon Trail.
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 11/9/2007 10:51:10 AM
Waymark Code: WM2J2C
This kiosk and signs are located near the east edge of Vale, Oregon
Marker Name 1: Pathway to the “Garden of the World”
Marker Text 1: Excitement filled the air May 22, 1843 as nearly one thousand Americans left Missouri toward new lives in the Oregon Country. During the next two decades more than 50,000 people, emigrated to a land of abundance, a land that Abigail Scott, emigrant of 1852, called the “Garden of the World.”
The Oregon Trail was more than two thousand miles through what Riley Root, emigrant of 1848, called “Landscape without soil! River bottoms with scarcely enough grass to support emigrant teams.” The fragile landscape’s ability to sustain life eroded as numbers of emigrants increased, and privation, illness and death often plagued emigrants. Survivors endured an extremely wearisome road, and by the time they reached this portion of the Trail, with much of the journey behind them, the “Garden of the World” still seemed very distant.
Marker Name 2: Chivalry on the Trail
Marker Text 2: The Oregon Trail was not a journey to be taken lightly: hardship was the common fare. Boys will be boys however; practical jokes and monkeyshines were not uncommon.
Marker Name 3: Malheur River and Hot Springs
Marker Text 3: The emigrants made their way from the Snake River to the Malheur River across what Sarah Sutton, in 1854, described as “the most dusty dry and hot bare desert that any person ever travers’d...” Vale was the point at which they crossed the Malheur River, watered livestock, camped and washed their clothing; many emigrants took advantage of river water heated by nearby hot springs.
Marker Name 4: Shortcut Ends in Disaster!
Marker Text 4: Weary emigrants were only too receptive to any idea that might shorten their journey, especially if it meant avoiding the Blue Mountains. Stephen Meek, pilot of an 1845 emigration, persuaded 200 families camped near this site to follow him on an alternate route across the desert to the upper Willamette Valley. The expedition became stalled at Lost Hollow. Unable to find water to the west, the emigrants turned north and twenty-four died before they reached The Dalles.
Marker Name 5: Worthy of Consideration
Marker Text 5: Most Oregon Trail emigrants who camped along the banks of the Malheur River were unimpressed and were eager to trek on toward greener pastures in the Willamette Valley. An anonymous emigrant of 1843 exclaimed: “It is a desert, so rugged, so dreary, and so exceedingly sterile that it cannot, until ages have melted its mountains, until the winds and floods and changes of thousands and thousands of years shall have crumbled into dust its rocks and its sands, yield anything worthy of consideration to the support of human life...”
Marker Name 6: Legend of the Blue Bucket
Marker Text 6: Stephen Meek, pilot of an ill-fated 1845 emigration, successfully persuaded 200 families to attempt a shortcut around the Blue Mountains. Although the endeavor proved disastrous, legend holds that in their desperate search for water the lost emigrants discovered a small amount of gold!
The search for the Blue Bucket gold led to other discoveries, and prospectors soon descended upon the countryside with their gold pans and pack mules. Although many deposits of precious metals have been found in the region, and mining lured many settlers back to the banks of the Malheur River, the Blue Bucket gold has eluded all seekers.
Marker Name 7: Born and Raised on the Oregon Trail
Marker Text 7: The Malheur River provided much needed water for both Oregon Trail emigrants and their livestock. Nearby hot springs must have provided many an emigrant family with the first hot bath in months of dry and dusty travel. The City of Vale stands today on the same site at which the emigrants camped, and was literally born and raised on the Oregon Trail.
The hot springs were the site of Vale’s first structure, described by Sarah Sutton, emigrant of 1854, as “a hut and tent ocupi’d by A Mr. Turner of Oregon a Trader.” These springs were also the site of Vale’s first legitimate building: The Bulley Ranch, owned by Capt. Jonathon Keeney, a trapper, ferry-man and jack-of-all-trades, who sold whiskey to Oregon Trail emigrants.
Lewis B. Rinehart bought the “Bulley Ranch” and built the historic Stone House, which was opened as a hotel with a grand ball on New Year’s Day 1873. The Stone House, which still stands on Main Street, served as a stagecoach stop, safehouse, post office and store. The name Vale was originally bestowed upon the local post office in 1893.
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