Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"The Oregon Trail ... Prairie Schooner"
Includes ... Oregon Trail ...Oregon National Historic Trail ... National Register of Historic Places ... Columbia River ... Prairie Schooner ... Barlow Road ... The Dalles ... Oregon City ...
Image, 2013, Philip Foster Farm and House, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Prairie Schooner, Philip Foster Farm, Eagle Creek, Oregon. Image taken May 4, 2013.

Prairie Schooner ...

"A prairie schooner is a relatively small covered wagon averaging 10-12 feet long and 4-5 feet wide. Most were converted farm wagons, although a few individuals such as freed slave Hiram Young and the Studebaker brothers made a living crafting wagons in Missouri for the Oregon Trail.

Older and larger Conestogas were built for the freight trade on the National Road or Santa Fe Trail. Some early pioneers tried these large wagons on the Oregon Trail but soon discovered they were too heavy for their teams to cross the Rockies."


Source:    Jim Thompkins, 1996 and 2002, "Discovering Laurel Hill and the Barlow Road"


Oregon Trail ...
The Oregon Trail ran approximately 2,000 miles from Missouri to the Rocky Mountains and then to the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The trip took four to six months. Independence, Missouri, is considered the beginning of the Oregon Trail and Oregon City, Oregon, is considered the end. The trail was busy, lasting from the early 1840s and ending with the coming of the railroad at the end of the 1860s. Large scale migration began in 1843, when a wagon train of over 800 people with 120 wagons and 5,000 cattle made the five month journey. An offshoot of the Oregon Trail was the Barlow Road, a "short cut" around Oregon's Mount Hood.

[More Oregon Trail]
[More Barlow Road]


Prairie Schooner construction ...

"Generally, the canvas topped "Prairie Schooners" had wagon boxes about four feet wide by nine to eleven feet long and two feet high, with rear axle clearance of about two feet. Boxes and running gear were made of well seasoned hardwoods, and reinforced with iron hardware. Wheel spoikes and rims were made of Osage orange, hickory, oak, or other very strong hardwoods, with iron tires. In early years, wheels were attached with linchpins, but by the 1850s, thimble skein axles and lug bolts were becoming the preferred method. Slightly smaller wheels in front provided greater turning capability. Wagons were sometimes brightly painted, sometimes in colors to coordinate and identify all members of a train traveling together. Wagon covers were made of cotton or linen canvas or osnaburg cloth, either made commercially or hand woven and sewn at home. Canvas was frequently waterproofed with oil base paint or linseed oil, and sometimes slogans were painted on the long white sides. When loaded, the wagons weighed up to 2,500 pounds, and required two to four yoke of oxen or pairs of mules. Some wagons had braking devices, but these were inadequate on steep declines, and chain locks, rough locks, shoe brakes, log drags and windlasses were employed on downhill grades. Uphill pulls required winches and double teaming. Lubricants made from animal fat and pine tar had to be frequently applied to axles, and wood shrinkage in dry, arid climates caused many problems with wheels."


Source:    U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management website, 2013, "National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, FAQ page.


Views ...

Image, 2013, Sandy, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Barlow Road Mural, "Peaceful Vistas", Sandy, Oregon. Mural depicts pioneer family on the Barlow Road, painted by Roger Cooke, 1993, located in Sandy, Oregon. Image taken June 28, 2013.


Prairie Schooners, etc.

  • Columbia Gorge Discovery Center ...
  • Philip Foster Farm ...
  • Oregon Trail ...


Columbia Gorge Discovery Center ...
[More]

Image, 2005, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Prairie Schooner, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken June 4, 2005.
Image, 2005, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Prairie Schooner, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken June 4, 2005.


Philip Foster Farm ...
A nice display of Prairie Schooners is on display at Philip Foster Farm in Eagle Creek, Oregon. Philip Foster was one of the backers of the Barlow Road.

Image, 2013, Philip Foster Farm and House, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Prairie Schooner, Philip Foster Farm, Eagle Creek, Oregon. Image taken May 4, 2013.
Image, 2013, Philip Foster Farm and House, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Prairie Schooner, Philip Foster Farm, Eagle Creek, Oregon. Image taken May 4, 2013.
Image, 2013, Philip Foster Farm and House, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Prairie Schooner, Philip Foster Farm, Eagle Creek, Oregon. Image taken May 4, 2013.
Image, 2013, Philip Foster Farm and House, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Frame, Prairie Schooner, Philip Foster Farm, Eagle Creek, Oregon. Image taken May 4, 2013.
Image, 2013, Philip Foster Farm and House, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wheel, Prairie Schooner, Philip Foster Farm, Eagle Creek, Oregon. Image taken May 4, 2013.


Oregon Trail ...
[More]

Image, Log raft used by pioneers, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
ILLUSTRATION: "Type of log raft used by pioneers between The Dalles and Cascade Locks". Source: S.C. Lancaster, 1916, "The Columbia, America's Great Highway", p.40.
Image, Log raft used by pioneers, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
ILLUSTRATION: "Hudson's Bay Batteau, used on the Columbia River, below Cascades". Source: S.C. Lancaster, 1916, "The Columbia, America's Great Highway", p.46.
Image, 2013, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Exhibit, Oregon Trail "River Route", Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken May 8, 2013.
Image, 2013, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Exhibit, Oregon Trail "River Route", Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken May 8, 2013.
Image, 2013, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Exhibit, Oregon Trail "River Route", Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, The Dalles, Oregon. Image taken May 8, 2013.
Image, 2013, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Exhibit, Oregon Trail "Land Route", Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, The Dalles, Oregon. Around the south side of Mount Hood on the Barlow Road. Image taken May 8, 2013.
Image, 2013, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, The Dalles, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Exhibit, Oregon Trail "Land Route", Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, The Dalles, Oregon. Around the south side of Mount Hood on the Barlow Road. Image taken May 8, 2013.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, ...
 




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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:
  • Lancaster, S.C., 1916, "The Columbia, America's Great Highway", p.46;
  • Oregon-California Trails Association website, 2011, "The Dalles, Oregon, End of the Old Oregon Trail";
  • U.S. National Park Service website 2011, The Oregon National Historic Trail;


All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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May 2013