Perhaps the most famous of Overland Trail landmarks, Chimney Rock's importance to western emigrants from the 1840s-1860s was unparalleled. Coming into view after many miles of travel on the flat plains, its reputation as the site marking the end of the first chapter of the overland journey was secured through writing in guidebooks, diaries, and reminiscences of trail travelers.
In 1994 the Chimney Rock National Historic Site opened alongside the monument. Visitors to the exhibit at the site's visitor's center learn about the challenges faced by Overland Trail emigrants. Through this digital exhibit of 187 images, viewers can see photographs, documents, artifacts, and artwork reflecting the Overland Trail experience. Most of the images were taken from the exhibit at the Chimney Rock facility, although several photographs were scanned from the Society's holdings in Lincoln.
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The digital presentation of this material as part of the Western Trails Project was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through a grant provided to the Colorado Digitization Project. The grant funding enabled the Nebraska State Historical Society to digitize images and create a database of records for them.