Mullan Road Overview
- The Mullan Road, constructed between 1858 and 1862, was the first wagon road to cross the northern Rockies to the Inland Northwest.
- Often, after its "completion," it was in such disrepair that only foot travelers and pack animals could follow its course, especially through the mountains. But, none the less, it played an important role in the development of the Inland Northwest.
- The building years were a momentous time in American history. In particular:
-- The section of the trail in eastern Washington passed by the sites of Coeur d'Alene War, including "Pyramid Butte" (site of the Battle of Steptoe Butte), Hangman Creek (where Col. George Wright summarily executed several Indians), and "Horse Slaughter Camp" (where Colonel Wright slaughtered 700 horses, owned by the local tribes).
-- In his report on the road-building, the reader can discern Capt. John Mullan's concern that his expedition would encounter still-hostile Indians.
-- Before the end of the road-building, the United States was engaged in the Civil War -- Mullan calls it the "civil troubles."
- The story of the Mullan Road provides a window onto many historical topics including American road-building, the Indian history of the Inland Northwest, the American wilderness, the white settlement of the Inland Northwest, and the story of America at the mid-nineteenth century, including the Civil War.