A Western wagon train, as shown on the label for an Oregon fruit box
The route of the Applegate Trail passed through the Rogue Valley

Pioneers Crossing the Mountains to Oregon

"Caught sight of the mountain house with a beautiful green garden around. The valley is about three miles wide here. The cattle that are running around here are very fat..."*
This diary entry from the summer of 1853 records the relief of a young pioneer, Welborn Beeson, as his wagon train completed the hard passage through the Siskiyou Mountains and reached this outpost of civilization.
During these early years a stream of travelers passed by the Mountain House on foot, on horseback, and in wagons, driving sheep or cattle or leading trains of pack mules. The inn offered a place they could feed and rest their animals, buy meals for themselves, and sleep in a bed with sheets. In 1853 the three young business partners (one of whom, John Gibbs, is shown here) bought a license to sell "spirituous liquors," thus establishing the only tavern within 150 miles.
Location, location, location. The Mountain House grew into a thriving business, with abundant gardens, storehouses full of staples, and niceties like decanters and mirrors. Free enterprise was already starting to smooth the rough edges off the frontier.
*Quoted in Mill Creek Journal by Kay Atwood, 1987.
John Gibbs, one of the three Mountain House boys
An 1850's engraving of a wagon train getting under way
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