Explorers, Traders, and Slavers: Forging the Old Spanish Trail, 1678-1850

By Joseph P. Sánchez | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI Epilogue

THE OLD SPANISH TRAIL lives in the lore of Native Americans, Hispanics, and Anglo-Americans, of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California. Similarly, its past and present are commemorated in literature and geography--in place-names, historical markers, and publications. Historiographically, the main event in the preservation of the Old Spanish Trail and its variants occurred in 1954 when Old Spanish Trail: Santa Fé to Los Angeles by Leroy R. Hafen and Ann W. Hafen was published. Historical markers are abundant in Utah, but not until 1976 when the United States celebrated its 200th anniversary did a regional interest arise seeking ways to preserve known portions of the trail. During the Bicentennial of the United States in 1976, many proposals were entertained by entities in Utah and New Mexico to "do something" about commemorating the trail and its variants. One significant action, taken by the Domínguez-EscalanteState-Federal Bicentennial Committee (organized in 1973), was the publication of the Domínguez-Escalante Journal, translated by Fray Angelico Chávez and edited by Ted J. Warner. Nearly simultaneously, a book by Walter Briggs, Without Noise of Arms: The 1776 Domínguez-Escalante Search for a Route from Santa Fe to Monterey, was published. Although accounts had been published previously by Herbert S. Auerbach ( 1941) and Herbert E. Bolton( 1951), the reissuance of the journal was a valuable contribution. The journal continues to be the premier document relating to the the Old Spanish Trail.

Perhaps the most significant outcome of the bicentennial in relation to the Old Spanish Trail was the beginning of a grassroots constituency to preserve the trail. During the Bicentennial, tourism seemed to be the

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