Friday, May 11, 2012

National Historic Trails: Santa Fe Trail-- Part 1

From American Profile Magazine "National Historic Trails:  Pathways to America's Past" by Marti Attoun.

Faye Gaines lives near Springer, New Mexico and right by some historic wagon ruts made by hundreds of freight and military wagons traveling the Santa Fe Trail.  Gaines is 85 and has been living there since she was 4 and is big backer of the old Santa Fe Trail, which is one of 19 National Historic Trails and also is custodian of the Point of Rocks, a mesa near her place with a spring at its base, a popular campsite and watering hole along the 900-mile trail that linked Missouri and New Mexico.

Modern-day travelers come to her ranch, owned by the family since 1898.  She greets them and shows rock piles marking the graves of early travelers, only one whose name is known, Isaac Allen, because his name is chiseled into a stone.

There are 700 members of the Santa Fe Trail Association whose goal is to preserve and promote William Becknell's 1821 trail established to move American goods to Spanish-speaking customers in the new Republic of Mexico.

Franklin, Missouri, was the original starting point, but by 1827, it had moved to Independence, Missouri, and then, in the mid-1840s to Westport, Missouri where goods were shipped by steamboat on the Missouri River then loaded onto freight wagons.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

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