Eugene in Lane County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
The Applegate Trail
Southern Route to Oregon
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 emigrants an alternative to the perilous “last leg” of the Oregon Trail down the treacherous Columbia River.
The first emigrants 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 emigrants blazed a wagon trail through nearly 500 miles of wilderness arriving in the upper Willamette Valley in November. Emigrant travel continued along the Applegate Trail in later years and contributed greatly to the settlement of southern Oregon and the Willamette Valley.
The Applegate Trail spit into two routes in the northern Umpqua Valley. The eastern route, established in 1846 by Jesse Applegate, Levi Scott, Moses “Black” Harris
Lane County’s Applegate Trails
The Applegate Trail evolved into two separate routes in Lane County. The western route, originally a trappers’ trail, followed the Long Tom River and eventually became the preferred route of the Applegate Trail. The eastern route, however, carried the first Applegate Trail emigrants. This route was established in 1846 by Levi Scott, Moses “Black” Harris, Cornelius Gilliam and others from Polk county. Leaving the old trappers’ trail, the explorers cut across to what are today Eugene and Cottage Grove. They managed to find a new route across the Calapooya Mountains and into the Umpqua Watershed before the expedition collapsed. Returning for reinforcements, Jesse Applegate assumed leadership and together with fourteen others successfully linked the route with the main California Trail. The top of nearby Skinner
….we traveled along the base of the Calapooias, our course being nearly southeast, passing near a prominent peak since called Spencer’s Butte…..One of our party succeeded in capturing an old Indian, and representing to him by signs the course we wished to follow, the old fellow preceded us two or three miles, and put us on a dim trail which had been marked by twisting the tops of the brush along the route. It had only been used as a foot-trail and but seldom at that.
Recollections of 1846
Erected by Applegate Trail Coalition.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Roads & Vehicles • Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Applegate Trail series list. A significant historical month for this entry is August 1846.
Location. 44° 3.644′ N, 123° 5.838′ W. Marker is in Eugene, Oregon, in Lane County. Marker is at the intersection of Cheshire Ave and N Lincoln St, on the right when traveling west on Cheshire Ave. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Eugene OR 97401, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Genesis of a City (a few steps from this marker); Eugene Skinner Settled Here in 1846 (a few steps from this marker); Eugene Skinner Site of First Cabin in Eugene (approx. ¼ mile away); Shelton – McMurphey House (approx. 0.4 miles away); Charles G. Dawes (1925) (approx. 0.8 miles away); Jane Addams (1931) (approx. 0.8 miles away); Al Gore (2007) (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Eugene.
More about this marker. These interpretive displays are two of four located in front of the Eugene Skinner replica cabin within Skinner Butte Park.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 26, 2018. It was originally submitted on April 25, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. This page has been viewed 196 times since then and 81 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 25, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.