WHTC to celebrate two anniversaries June 23
150th anniversary of the 7th Handcart Company and its own 10th anniversary

For immediate release June 15, 2007


Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

(DES 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 true.

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:

10 a.m.
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.

11:30 a.m.
Causes of Death Among Handcarters in Iowa 150 Years Ago, an address by Dr. Shauna Anderson, Brigham Young University Biology Labs director

11:30 a.m.
Youth Program: Pioneer Journal Writing and Games

Noon-12:45 p.m.
Hikes to the Missouri River and guided tour of pioneer sites as seen from the Missouri River levee adjacent to Trail Center

12:45-1:15 p.m.
Lunch ($5 adults; $2.50 for children 10 and younger)

1:30 p.m.
A Descendant Looks Back 150 Years at 7th Handcart Company, Dr. Allen Christensen, Brigham Young University International Agriculture & Food Program

1:30 p.m.
Youth Program: Pioneer! What’s in your handcart? Pioneer games and journal writing

3 p.m.
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 at www.culturalaffairs.org.



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