Elko Field Office
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Date: April 9, 2007
CONTACT: Mike Brown, (775) 753-0386;
email: mbrown@nv.blm.gov


California National Historic Trail Center rises from the ground about 8 miles west of Elko along I-80.

California National Historic Trail Center rises from the ground about 8 miles west of Elko along I-80.


Elko, Nev. — Masonry contractors have completed the walls in the north half of the building for Elko’s future California National Historic Trail Interpretive Center.

“The Frazier Masonry crews are continuing to make good progress,” said Bureau of Land Management (BLM) California Trail Center Manager Dave Jamiel. “They also topped out the remainder of the front walls. They may get a good start on the east end gift shop and restrooms this week.”

West Coast Construction compacted the floor areas, installed the vapor barrier and base material in the north half of the building. Spires Concrete completed forming the footings for the four interpretive walls and the three “u-shaped” plaza walls in the plaza areas. They also formed a main column foundation near the main entry to the building. The steel contractor will place the reinforcing steel in the footing and foundations on Monday and Spires Concrete will pour the concrete.

Copeland Electric installed the under-floor conduits in the north half of the building. They are ready to set the electrical panels in the electrical room when the concrete floor is placed. The structural steel erectors are scheduled to arrive at the job site Monday to begin setting the steel columns, beams and trusses.

Outfitting for the Trail - by Will Bagley
Although Landsford Hastings claimed that it would cost a farmer “nothing but his time,” preparing to move a family west in the 1840s was a complicated and expensive proposition that often required a large investment in supplies, wagons, and livestock. Contemporary writers estimated the cost at between $100 and $200 per person, but John Unruh concluded that conservatively, the cost of a family’s overland journey would be $1,500, an amount in 1850 dollars equal to about $30,000 today.

Single men often worked their way across the Plains as teamsters, and the truly determined could make the trip for much less. (“Two Irishmen passed us with nothing in the world but a milk cow apiece and a small sack of crackers. They left St. Joseph May 8th and are not out-traveling ox-teams,” wrote William Renfro Rothwell. “Hurrah for the Irish.”) Once the gold rush began, commercial operations and cooperative organizations charged between $200 to $300 for the trip, which compared well with the cost of a passage around Cape Horn.

Emigrants essentially had to prepare for a four to six-month-long camping trip during which they would cross almost two thousand miles of increasingly rugged terrain. They had to be ready to provide for all their needs and meet any emergency, for in that entire distance there were only three ramshackle trading posts that seldom had enough supplies to trade, even at the highest prices. Some travelers had access to a doctor, but even the most skilled medical practitioners had little to offer beyond comfort. Overlanders had no one to rely on for their safety but themselves, for before the Mexican War, north of Texas there was not a single American solider stationed west of Fort Leavenworth.

from Will Bagley’s The Long and Hazardous Journey



Last updated: 03-27-2015