U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers

Oregon - California Trails Association

In Pursuit of a Dream

A 360° panoramic view of the topog camp on the Oregon Trail atop Prospect Hill (now Ryan's Hill).  Soon this will be dotted with wind turbines. Left-click to enlarge.  You will need Acrobat Reader.


In 2008, the Oregon - California Trails Association asked the topographical engineers to set up a period camp along the Oregon Trail to help produce an educational film entitled In Pursuit of a Dream.  On the project blog, Candy Moulton, writer and producer, described the concept:

The Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA) in association with Boston Productions is producing a 1-hour broadcast television program, "In Pursuit of a Dream," and series of short videos to be shown in schools throughout the country about what it was like to be an emigrant traveling West on a wagon train. The program is being produced by Boston Productions, an award winning Film Company that produces theatrical presentations for museums, visitor centers, and broadcast outlets.

Camp was set up on BLM land along the rim about a mile south of the trail (see panoramic view above).  The topogs, Kevin Reddy, Bob Elsloo, and Don Erickson, planned to run the students through three stations while Boston Productions filmed whatever happened.  The stations included introductions to the quintant, alidade, barometer, zenith telescope, and topographical illustration.

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Topographical engineer camp near Prospect Hill, south of the Oregon Trail.  Observation tent with the zenith telescope is on the right.  Click for a larger view.


After the camp was set up, we sent the forty voyageurs and all the stock down to Willow Spring so that they would be out of the way when the students arrived.  The following are images taken during the project.

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