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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Smokeless Site of Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock, viewed from the east (Darton, 1897

When immigrants traveled west along the Oregon Trail, they caught their first glimpse of the Chimney Rock which towered 500 feet above the Nebraska plains. Geographically it represented the end of the prairie and the beginning of the Rockies.

Chimney Rock, during Nebraska winter (2002)

Chimney Rock was first seen in 1813 by the Astorians of Robert Stuart. However, it wasn't documented until 1827 by Joshua Pilcher, who had journeyed up the Platte River valley to the Salt Lake rendezvous of the Rocky Mountain fur trappers.

The Chimney name came from the Brule clay column that stands 4,226 feet above sea level. The rock is also composed of volcanic ash and sandstone, which has significantly weathered away over the past couple of centuries.
Chimney Rock has been designated a National Historic Site and is today administrated as an "affiliated area" by the National Park Service in cooperation with the Nebraska State Historical Society. Chimney Rock and Independence Rock further west are probably the most famous features along the Oregon Trail.


Rhett said...

Wow I wonder how much longer it is going to stay up. You can see the wear and tear just from looking at the pictures. Time destroys all things. When they say take a picture it will last longer it really is true sometimes.
Rhett Out

Ashley said...

oh wow...
this rock must be really old. erosion will wear this rock down. it will be a sad day.

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