By Judy Rickard, author of Torn Apart: United by Love, Divided by Law, Findhorn Press, 2011
We made it! We pulled into Oregon City unscathed and in daylight! We had gone the entire length of the Oregon Trail that my Everest ancestors had walked and herded their animals and driven their wagons. Wow! It was a glorious feeling and I still think of it – especially when I am preparing to go north to Oregon to see my Everest family there.
Of course, to many, the end of the Oregon Trail is The Dalles, as we shared in an earlier story. The continuation west on land on The Barlow Road is anathema to those purists, but I say Oregon City is the end of the Oregon Trail, though I have learned not so long ago that my birth mother and her family have roots in The Dalles after coming across on the Oregon Trail. Guess I will always have this rift or conflict in my heritage – but how many people can say that both their parents’ families came to Oregon Territory via the Oregon Trail? I bet not many! Wish I had known earlier and been able to ask more questions, but that is not to be.
First established in 1829 by the Hudson’s Bay Company, it became the first U.S. city west of the Rocky Mountains to be incorporated, in 1845. By the 2010 census, the population numbered 31, 859. Oregon City today is a bustling small town with local, independent and franchise, big box stores. It sits on The Willamette River and is home to some of my “new” relatives. I like it there and hope to explore more one day. A big sign welcomes you – see the photos. A museum of Oregon Trail history is fun to visit, but economic woes don’t allow it to be open many hours a week, which is a shame, especially for those who travel and can’t enjoy it.