From 1821 until the 1870s when the railroads were completed, a person could stand in the midst of what is now Minor Park at Holmes Rd. and 110th St., and watch the wagon trains go by. That area was part of the highway to the West: the Santa Fe, Oregon and California Trails.
Thousands of pioneers and gold prospectors passed that way. Their wagons, pulled by oxen or mules, carried everything they owned--and enough food to last several months.
Most of these travelers, having left Independence, Missouri, that morning, met their first major obstacle at the Blue River. The weight of the wagons, plus the multitudes of emigrants, traders and animals, left their mark in the land. The ruts, also known as swales, are still visible today.