When you read about the history of Donner Pass and its original settlers, you are going to see lots of information about the Donner Party. That’s the group of people that went to great lengths to travel to that spot in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California during the mid 19th century. It’s really interesting reading about different towns and cities all over the US and how they were founded, don’t you think? In this instance, it was all about a wagon train from Oregon and their journey to California.
It was a treacherous trek, and it is their story that ends up highlighting the foundation of the settlement known as Donner Pass. You can read all about the family and their encounter with the Great Salt Lake. Oh yes, they went to Utah for sure, and they encountered much more than just the Great Salt Lake. Now, it’s one thing to take a trek across the entire country, but these brave people did it in rough terrain and during the 1800’s.
That is quite a lot to ask, and it was dangerous. It was dangerous to the point that there was talk in written documents about people wanting to eat other people. That is the supposed cannibalistic folklore of it all, but it is suggested as a possibility in writings from the people in that party of travelers or settlers. People highlight the travesty of starvation and possible cannibalism. Let’s highlight the starvation, as it cannot be overstated how bad the conditions were then. Think about Oregon, Utah and northern California, and read about their travels. It is an interesting story for sure. It is part of the history of that town, and as part of learning its history, maybe you will want to visit Donner Pass. We recently had a group of visitors from Minnesota who work for a roofing company there (here’s their website), and they had just come through Donner Pass. They had just learned the story, and it was refreshing to hear them recite the tale of those early settlers, and the hardship they endured. I think that should be my next post.