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U.s. Westward Expansion

September 15, 1997

With modern transportation, we can fly across the United States in about six hours. We can even drive from coast to coast in less than a week. But for the earliest settlers who came West, the trip took months, and many of them made it on foot, pushing handcarts filled with their possessions. Want to learn more about the people who explored and settled the West? Use the direct links on The Times' Launch Point Web site.



Lewis and Clark. Trace Lewis and Clark's 2 1/2-year journey across America. Learn about the forts and Native American villages they saw along the way.

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frontier Girl: Find out what really happened to her and her family as they traveled west. Read historical documents, take a quiz to test your knowledge of the "Little House" books or submit your own book review.

Flagstaff History for Kids: Learn how the construction of the railroad helped Flagstaff, Ariz., to become a thriving, culturally diverse town. Click on the photos, and bring the early years in the West to life.


The Oregon Trail: Visit more than 20 historic sites along the Oregon Trail. Includes a collection of unusual facts and short stories.

Pioneer Spirit: Photos, stories and a personal narrative tell of the homesteaders and their experiences on the frontier.

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial: Use the Museum Tour link to enter the Museum of Westward Expansion. Hear the narratives of Thomas Jefferson, a pioneer woman and a "buffalo soldier" who served in one of the African American regiments of the U.S. Army after the Civil War.


An Outline of American History--Westward Expansion: An excellent overview of the political, economic, cultural and social influences of that period.

The Pony Express Home Station: Explore the history of the Pony Express. Learn about the riders and the dangers they faced delivering mail along this famous postal route. Includes historical newspaper articles and many useful links on the history of the Old West.

New Perspectives on the West: An extensive site with an interactive timeline and a tour of the people, places and events of the West. Includes maps, historical archives, online quizzes, Web links and a behind-the-scenes look at the process of making this historical documentary.

Launch Point is produced by the UC Irvine department of education, which reviews each site for appropriateness and quality. Even so, parents should supervise their children's use of the Internet. This week's column was designed by Ronni Rowland with contributions by Brendon Morrow.


Free Times T-shirt

The answer to this Internet quiz can be found in the sites at right.

What was used in the Old West as both a fuel for fires and as a Frisbee-like toy for children?

Clue: See The Oregon Trail.

How It Works: Answer three questions correctly in the Explorer's Quest Web Challenges by Sept. 29, and you'll get a free T-shirt. Just clip and fill out the form on Page B5, or make up your own handwritten form. You can also find the form on The Times' Launch Point Web site,

Answer to last week's Quest: The city of Young America in Minnesota has the ZIP Code 55555.

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