Scotts Bluff
Administrative History
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Summary: Scotts Bluff National Monument

The following is an interpretive statement printed in a two-fold leaflet distributed to visitors. It succinctly and forcefully epitomizes the essence of Scotts Bluff National Monument:

To the thousands of emigrants who followed the Oregon Trail to Utah and the Pacific Coast, Scotts Bluff was a prominent landmark and a favorite camp site. Named for the mysterious fur trader, Hiram Scott, who according to tradition died here in 1828, its prominence is more distinctly associated with the mass migration across the treeless plains between 1843 and 1869. The covered wagons of the pioneers, the handcarts of the Mormons, and the pack trains of the fur traders, all passed this natural promontory. Frenchmen, Scotchmen [sic], Germans, and others of European nationality joined the native-born American in the arduous journey to a "promised land." Some carried with them more material possessions than others, but all carried with them the necessary determination, resolute courage, and confidence in the American way of life.

This way of life, an integral part of American democracy, was nurtured, tempered, and revitalized by the rigors of the trail. Freedom of action and equality of opportunity made possible the wagon trains that followed the trail, and it was their occupants who extended these principles of Americanism beyond the Rocky Mountains. Today, as a national monument, Scotts Bluff is a reminder of that spirit and memorial to those emigrants who disseminated it over a vast territory. [1]

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Last Updated: 19-Jan-2003