The route of many westward trails started in Independence and because of this, the city earned the nickname of “Queen City of the Trails.” From Missouri the trail headed west into the Kansas area, crossing the Kansas River near Topeka, before eventually passing into modern-day Nebraska.
Independence is a community built on rich tradition and the pioneering American spirit. Originally a popular trading post, pioneers stocked their wagons with supplies before heading west on the Oregon, Santa Fe and California Trails. Because so many people gathered here for their journey, Independence is home to a wealth of family history, including the largest free-standing public genealogy library in the nation.
Influencer Stefanie from Makingofamom.com explored Independence during the Oregon Trail 175th special event which included a fashion show, tours and wagon rides. Read about her visit here.
As the capital city of Kansas, Topeka has had many historical events which helped shape the state and the nation. Kansas was the gathering point for wagon trains before the caravans left on their long trek west. Topeka is still an excellent place to gather, where history buffs, foodies and daredevils all converge to enjoy an abundance of fun adventures.
Influencer Kala Wiederholt explored Topeka and met Modern Pioneer Mike Patterson, owner of Historic Harley-Davidson and The Evel Knievel Museum. Her trip included visiting Shawnee Lake, Gage Park and the Children's Discovery Center. Read about her visit here.
Located seven miles southeast of Kearney, Fort Kearny was the first fort built to protect travelers on the Oregon-California Trail, the Pony Express and eventually crews building the Union Pacific Railroad. Nowadays people visit Kearney to experience the city’s great downtown filled with history, culture and entertainment. This is especially true from late February to early April when more than 80 percent of the world’s population of Sandhill Cranes converge on the Platte River. Fun fact: The spelling is different between the town and the Fort, with the town having an extra “e”. Someone at the post office made a spelling error on the application.
Influencer Erin Fairchild explored Kearney and met Modern Pioneer Gene Hunt, Superintendent of Fort Kearny Historical Park. Her visit included stops at MONA (Museum of Nebraska Art), the Archway and some amazing restaurants. Read about her visit here.
North Platte, Nebraska
The history of the Oregon Trail, the Old West and the railroad all flow through North Platte. Throughout the community, you’ll find museums, landmarks and monuments dedicated to the past. But it’s not all about history in North Platte. The city is filled with specialty shops, interesting art galleries and a theater which pair perfectly with a scenic winery and a local brewery.
Influencer Erin Fairchild explored North Platte and met Modern Pioneer Lori Clinch, owner of Grain Bin Antique Town. She also floated the North Platte River with Dusty Trails and toured the Golden Spike Tower. Read about her visit here.