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Southern Jog



The Oregon Trail

While you are stopped, learn about: Kool Aid

Hastings, Nebraska; Adams County

The Oregon Trail was the most traveled overland route in American History.  The trail ran from Independence, Missouri, to what is now northern Oregon and other western states. It passed through this point on its way to the great Platte Valley.

Unlike a modern highway, the Oregon Trail was not a single clear path. In places it was 10 miles (16 kilometers) wide. 

Trappers and missionaries recognized the Platte Valley as a natural roadway in the 1830s. The first wagon train followed the 2,000-mile trail to Oregon in 1841. In the next twenty-five years nearly a quarter of a million people took this route.  These travelers moved slowly, only 10 to 20 miles a day on a three-month trip. Thousands of hooves, shoes, and wheels pounded a wide trail into the prairie sod.

Some were headed to Oregon and others like the ’49ers went to California. Settlers, stage coaches, Pony Express riders, the military, and more all used this prairie highway. The Union Pacific Railroad put an end to the use of the trail. 








While you are stopped, learn about Kool Aid!

In 1927, Edwin Perkins invented and began to manufacture Kool-Aid at Perkins Products Company in Hastings. His dream of being a self-employed businesses success was backed by hard work and some ingenious marketing. While he developed many products, Kool-Aid was certainly the most famous and has gone on to impact popular culture through the decades.

Visitors to Hastings can stop by the Original Kool-Aid Factory, the original home of Perkins Products Company, at 516 West 1st Street in Hastings. This is where Perkins invented and manufactured Kool-Aid, and the front of the building offers a colorful tribute to Edwin, his wife Kitty, and Kool-Aid – and is a great spot for taking a picture.


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