Settling the frontier along the Oregon-California Trail: An examination of settlement patterns in southeastern Idaho and western Wyoming
AdvisorBonine, Michael E.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe Oregon-California Trail is viewed as a transportation system that connected the Missouri River settlements with the Northwest Territory. The trail carried thousands of people westward, and furnished economic opportunities to enterprising people who operated ferries, trading posts, and other trail support services. The study investigates the transferability of John C. Hudson's North Dakota town formation model presented in Plains Country Towns to an area defined by emigration trails. A settlement database is utilized to examine area development over time, and explores the relationship between settlement patterns, the trail, and the railroad. It shows that water, not market access via the trail and railroad, was the primary settlement location influence, and that Hudson's model is not transferable due to different railroad development objectives. Railroads were initially interested in getting through the area, not developing a structure to harvest agriculture products from the adjacent hinterlands. Trail location was not a primary criteria used during the site selection process.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Geography and Regional Development