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Archive for Wednesday, April 21, 1999

WAGON TRAIN MAKES BALDWIN STOP

April 21, 1999

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— Members of a trail re-enactment group en route to California stopped overnight Tuesday in Baldwin.

Dressed in period outfits and riding in specially made wagons, members of the Gold Rush Wagon Train stopped Tuesday on the Santa Fe Trail here.

"This is the first time in 175 years that a wagon train has stopped here," said Al Holloway, director of the Arabian Riding School, where the wagons stayed overnight Tuesday. The Santa Fe Trail, which settlers followed in the 1800s through Missouri and Kansas into New Mexico, runs through the school's property.

About a dozen members of the wagon train stopped in Baldwin as part of a five-month, 2,500-mile re-enactment of the California gold rush of 1849.

The group began April 4 in St. Charles, Mo., and is hoping to arrive on Sept. 6 in Sacramento, Calif.

"We're living history," said Oneta Carter, wagon boss for the group.

Members are traveling in six custom-made wooden covered wagons, with 22 horses and three motorized support vehicles.

"We try to stay as close to the trail as possible, but we will use the backroads," Carter said.

The California Sesquicentennial Committee is sponsoring the ride. The wagon train also earns some funding from people who pay to ride in the wagons or on horses for various legs of the trip.

"It's a fun experience," said John Freund of Edgerton, who rode his own horse with the group on Tuesday.

"There's so many people who love historical things and horses," he said.

Carter and her father, Morris, are veterans at trail re-enactments. They rode on the Oregon Trail re-enactment in 1993, during the 150th anniversary of the founding of that trail.

"We like to stress education, conservation and preservation" of the trails, Oneta Carter said.

Today the group will be in Overbrook, and it will travel on Thursday to Burlingame and Friday to Council Grove before moving to points west.

People can learn more about the Gold Rush Wagon Train through its Internet web site at: http://www.goldrushwagontrain.com.

-- Michael Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is mdekker@ljworld.com.

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