Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov,
MOINES) – On June 12, 1857, 330 mostly
Scandinavian individuals set out from Iowa City with
a caravan of 68 handcarts and three wagons as part
of the Christian Christiansen 7th Handcart Company.
Their journey would take them nearly three months
and more than 1,000 miles. Many would die along the
way. On July 2, the Company reached Council Bluffs,
where officials refused to let them into the city,
claiming the immigrants had smallpox, which was not
The next day, after taking the long way around, the
party crossed the Missouri River on a steam-driven
ferry to arrive in Omaha, where they were greeted
by fellow Scandinavian settlers.
On Saturday, June 23, 2007, the Western Historic
will host an event commemorating the 150th anniversary
of the 7th Handcart Company as well as WHTC’s
own 10th anniversary. Programs will be held throughout
the day and include:
Horse and mule drawn covered wagons and handcarts
arrive at Western Historic Trails Center. Council
Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan will be riding in one of
the horse drawn wagons.
Causes of Death Among Handcarters in Iowa 150 Years
Ago, an address by Dr. Shauna Anderson, Brigham Young
University Biology Labs director
Youth Program: Pioneer Journal Writing and Games
Hikes to the Missouri River and guided tour of pioneer
sites as seen from the Missouri River levee adjacent
to Trail Center
Lunch ($5 adults; $2.50 for children 10 and younger)
A Descendant Looks Back 150 Years at 7th Handcart
Company, Dr. Allen Christensen, Brigham Young University
International Agriculture & Food Program
Youth Program: Pioneer! What’s in your handcart?
Pioneer games and journal writing
Handcart Family Activity: Try your hand at pulling
your own cart; see how pioneers trekked their way
west to the Rocky Mountains.
Call 712-366-4900 or visit the Trails Center, 3434
Richard Downing Avenue in Council Bluffs to R.S.V.P.
for the handcart pull.
The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is responsible
for developing the state’s interest in the areas
of the arts, history and other cultural matters with
the advice and assistance from its two divisions:
the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa
Arts Council. DCA preserves, researches, interprets
and promotes an awareness and understanding of local,
state and regional history and stimulates and encourages
the study and presentation of the performing and fine
arts and public interest and participation in them.
It implements tourism-related art and history projects
as directed by the General Assembly and designs a
comprehensive, statewide, long-range plan with the
assistance of the Iowa Arts Council to develop the
arts in Iowa. More information about DCA is available
to What's New Section