Oregon Trail History in Twin Falls, ID
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Adkins
When many people think of the Oregon Trail, the only images that come to mind are pixilated covered wagons on the scroll-screen interface of an old computer.
Pioneer Historic Sites
The iconic game created such strong impressions of fording the river and bouts of dysentery that it’s easy to forget that the Oregon Trail was a real route, traveled by real people.
Monuments to the period still exist along the trail, though, bringing history to life for curious visitors. Rock Creek Station and the Stricker Home Site in Southern Idaho is one of the stopping points that still attracts visitors today, thanks in large part to Friends of Stricker Inc.
This nonprofit group maintains the grounds, which include the first trading post in the Magic Valley and the oldest building in Twin Falls, which was built in 1865.
“This little site in Rock Creek was the first trading post, and it’s where the Magic Valley started. The seeds were planted here to grow this whole area,” says Curtis Johnson, president of Friends of Stricker Inc. and great-great-grandson of Herman and Lucy Stricker, who settled in the area in the 1870s.
The site received historical designation 25 years ago, and interest in the region is high. Between 4,000 and 5,000 people visit the Station and Home Site each year. The group also holds annual events on the site to raise interest. Each year around Mother’s Day, locals gather to celebrate the holiday and the birthday of Lucy Stricker.
“It really is an important part of history,” Johnson says. “Every year, we have so many school kids who come here on field trips, and they really get to live the history because it happened right there. They don’t read about it in a book, they don’t see pictures – they get to come right to the site and see where people traveled the Oregon Trail.”
Read about more history in the Twin Falls, ID area.