Street Address
138 South Washington
Afton, WY 83110
Mailing Address
POB 1212
Afton, WY 83110
Hours
The museum is open primarily during the summer months.
Admissions
Free
Staff
Ron Anderson, President, SVHS

Description

Lander Trail artifacts

History

Historical significance of the Lander Trail: The Lander Trail is part of the federally-designated National Historic Trails. Unlike other emigrant trails that evolved from repeated use, the Lander Trail was actually a constructed road, the first federally funded road west of the Mississippi River. The 256-mile wagon road, built in 1858, started at Burnt Ranch near South Pass, in Wyoming, and ended at Fort Hall in Idaho. It was an alternative to the original Oregon Trail through Fort Bridger, saving up to seven days of travel, avoiding larger desert sections and avoiding expensive ferry crossings over the Green River

The road was engineered and built by its namesake, Frederick Lander. Lander had an extensive background in railroad construction in the east and had been part of the Pacific Railroad Survey in 1853. He worked on improving emigrant trails from 1857 until entering the Civil War in 1861. Lander died from a battle wound in 1862. He estimated that 13,000 emigrants used the new road in its first full year 1859. The road was used extensively until the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869. The road continued to see some emigrant traffic into the 20th century and played an important role in the settlement of the area.

The Lander Trail Today:

The Lander Trail has been marked and can be followed on public land for much of its length including the 18-mile desert section through the Green River Valley which is bisected by the Pinedale Anticline.