BAYARD — Chimney Rock was the most noted of all landmarks on the Oregon, California and Mormon Pioneer Trails. Its stand-alone spire could be seen for miles across the prairie by emigrants heading westward during the 1800’s. The second most noted of overland trail landmarks, Scotts Bluff was referred to as the “Grand Gateway to the Rockies.” To celebrate their iconic notoriety in the history of expanding the west, Chimney Rock National Historic Site and Scotts Bluff National Monument have partnered to host “Music on the Trails” on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Chimney Rock Visitor Center from 3 to 6 p.m.
This event will feature an interpretive program, “From Wagons to Wagons” presented by Scotts Bluff National Monument volunteer, Jerry Lucas. The program centers around the Studebaker family on their journey from Germany to Lancaster, Pennsylvania and on to South Bend, Indiana. It’s a story of the family’s struggle to reinvent themselves, adapt to change and overcome adversity. From one craft to another, through hardship, including the loss of their factory on two occasions, and popularity during the automobile age, the Studebaker story not only tells of pioneer history but also American ingenuity.
Following the program, musicians from the “Village Players & Friends” will provide authentic pioneer music and refreshments will be served. There will be a make-and-take kids harmonica and wind flute craft, too! “While there wasn’t much down time for emigrants, wagon companies would partake in the camaraderie of music and singing while stopped for the evenings. They may have packed a harmonica or violin in their Studebaker wagon to entertain fellow emigrants on the lonely journey west,” Kayla Gasker, Centennial Coordinator explains.
The “Music on the Trails” event will be a free, family-friendly event. Kids are encouraged to explore the interactive hands-on exhibits including the “pack your wagon” activity in the Visitor Center. The Ethel and Christopher J. Abbott Visitor Center will undergo a major renovation project starting in November so this is the perfect opportunity to take one last walk through before construction begins. The gift shop will be open for unique items and books on trail history, educational games, Nebraska keepsakes and more!
For more information about this program, visit the Facebook event “Music on the Trails” or contact Kayla Gasker (NPS) at 308-436-9701 or Sandra Reddish (History Nebraska) at 308-641-5875.