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Frances S. Landrum Historic Wayside
This county park at the California/Oregon state line is the gateway to the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway from the south. The wayside commemorates the historic Applegate and California emigrant trails. Here, you can stand on the actual Applegate Trail.
Yesterday . . .
Oregon was an issue of great national concern to the U.S. by the 1840's. Overland emigration began in 1843 and within two years nearly 3,000 settlers arrived. The presidential campaign of 1844 was characterized by James K. Polk's slogan "Fifty-four Forty or Fight!" Polk was prepared to fight unless the British rescinded claims to all lands south of latitude 54 degrees, 40 minutes. Once elected, he gave Britain one year to resolve the "Oregon Question."
In 1846, Jesse Applegate and fourteen others from near Dallas, Oregon, established a trail south from the Willamette Valley and east to Fort Hall. This route offered immigrants an alternative to the perilous "last leg" of the Oregon Trail down the treacherous Columbia River and would allow Americans to escape the impending war with Great Britain. On July 4, 1846 Captain Levi Scott, Jesse Applegate and David Goff and the rest of the party came to this spot as they were blazing the trail. This park was dedicated on July 4, 1996 to commemorate the 150th aniversary of the Applegate party's visit.
The party learned later that war with the British had been avoided with the signing of a treaty on June 15, 1846. The treaty established the north border of Oregon at 49 degrees north latitude leaving this site, at 42 degrees north latitude, under control of the Americans. The route came to serve as a wagon road for immigration to Oregon and became the scene of more Indian-White killings than all other western routes combined.
The first immigrants to trek the new "Southern Road" left with the trailblazers from Fort Hall in early August 1846. With Levi Scott acting as guide, while Jesse Applegate traveled ahead to mark the route, the hardy immigrants blazed a wagon trail through nearly 500 miles of wilderness arriving in the upper Willamette Valley in November. Travel continued along the Applegate Trail in later years and contributed greatly to the settlement of Southern Oregon and the Willamette Valley.
. . .and today
Wildlife surrounds the wayside. The Bear Valley National Wildlife Refuge is to the west and the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge is to the east. Bald eagles, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, during the late winter months, roost in Bear Valley at night and feed on waterfowl in the Lower Klamath and Tule Lake areas during the day. The early morning flyover during the winter is truly a spectacle to behold.
From this site you can see, and jump to, Captain Jack Peak in the South Klamath Hills and the grain elevators south of the community of Worden. There is another panorama of the Landrum Historic Wayside. Look below!
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