Location: Scotts Bluff, Neb.

In western Nebraska a rock formation juts up over 800 feet into the air, dominating the landscape. Though today we appreciate the monument for the change in scenery it provides, in the 19th century, the Bluff was an important landmark for travelers of the Oregon and Mormon Trails. Scotts Bluff was unseen by non-indigenous eyes until 1812, when fur traders happened upon it. Due to the War of 1812, the Bluff largely stayed a secret until more fur traders passed through in the 1820s. In 1823 the Bluff was named for Hiram Scott, a well-known fur trader who had died in the area. By the 1830s, Scotts Bluff had become a landmark—many pioneers passed through Scotts Bluff on their way to a better life in the west. Today, the Oregon Trail Museum and Visitors Center commemorates Scotts Bluff’s place in America’s westward expansion.