The swale (small trench) running left to right in front of you is a remnant of the old Lander Trail. It is unknown if this swale formed by repeated wagon use or during trail construction. Unlike all previous western emigrant trails - which evolved from Indian trails - the US Government surveyed, engineered, and constructed the Lander Trail New Wagon Road
In 1858, a crew of 115 men built 230 miles of new trail. They moved more than 62,000 cubic yards of dirt and rock - equal to 6,000 modern dump truck loads - and cleared 34 miles of heavy timber and willows. Construction cost $40,260, finished ahead of schedule, and came in under budget.
1850s Road Construction
Using techniques learned from building railroads back east, laborers first used mules for driving plows to break up the hard soil here. They then moved and leveled the dirt with mule-drawn buck and scoop scrapers. Men with picks and shovels also helped in rocky patches.
According to road superintendent Lander, laborers were paid $30 per month. Lander formed a road construction crew made of "lumbermen and bridge builders" from Maine, Mormons for Salt Lake City, Utah, and "destitute men who we met along the road" that he felt "compelled to feed and shelter."