A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota Idaho, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Oregon Tours - End of the Oregon Trail Museum

Over the Labor Day weekend John and I went to Portland, OR to visit a large number of our friends who live in the area or were up visiting. One of the highlights of the weekend was our trip to the End of the Oregon Trail Museum (not to be confused with OTHER Oregon Trail museums). This museum was located in Oregon City, OR about 45 minutes from the middle of Portland and operated by the Historical Society of Oregon City.

John and my good friend Sue accompanied me on this visit. As you can see, the architecture was true to the ideals of the American West.
As soon as we got into the visitor's center, Sue found us some classic (and classy) bonnets that we bought and then wore throughout our museum tour.
We started with a historical re-enactment movie that "followed" a variety of different people on their trips on the Oregon Trail. We also liked that there was a hologram of a guy who interpreted the movie for us periodically.
There were three different sections to the museum: a pre-trail "general store" that showcased all of the things the people left behind and what they took with them, a section that discussed some of the interesting people's stories from the trail, and a post-trail area that contained a land claims section. The Oregon Trail ended in Oregon City, as this was where they could file land claims.
After the movie and our tour through the museum, one of the docents, Missy (who by all accounts appeared to be bored to tears), offered to let me make candles. Sue and I think she was entertained by our enthusiasm and our bonnets. I did not appear to be a very good candle maker as Missy kept telling me to move faster between the wax container and the cold water container. But I did end up with a nice little candle.
While I have not traveled the entire Oregon Trail in life. I did play the game for many years as a child. In addition, I have seen some of the other stops on the trail - notably Fort Laramie and Independence Rock (which is now a rest area in Wyoming).
Perhaps we're not the quintessential frontier couple, but we're modern day Oregonian travelers.
After the End of the Trail museum, we headed to the McLoughlin House near downtown Oregon City. I was most upset to discover that I had forgotten my National Parks Passport book. I had to stamp my stamps on paper for later taping into my book.
We didn't go on the McLoughlin House tour, but instead walked down to the 4th oldest elevator in the U.S. It was made out of an old water tower that gave us a view of the city. It was a bit unnerving that they had a full-time elevator operator who sat behind a plexi-glass shield - we jumped when we first saw him.
The elevator took us to the Oregon City promenade that we walked down to Willamette Falls (in the top left corner of the below photo). Unfortunately in late-August, it appears that the falls are more of a dam than a waterfall. And, the old factories that lined the river did not add to the beauty of the scene. Possibly we'll revisit during the rainy season to see if it's more picturesque.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

A wonderful explanation of the tour and our experience in downtown Oregon City. Had a great time with you and John! Let's go to the REAL Oregon Trail museum next time.