The city of St. Louis, Missouri, is known as the “Gateway to the West.” It has this nickname because it was the starting point for the westward movement of people in the United States during the early to mid-1800s. It was a traveling hub for many settlers, hunters and others migrating west. The Gateway Arch now in St. Louis symbolizes the city’s nickname. St. Louis was where many wagon trains got organized that first began to head west on the Oregon Trail and to California. Even though Kansas City and Independence Missouri where other jumping off points, St. Louis was the last big city that many settlers encountered. The "Gateway to the West" was where these travelers could load up on supplies they couldn’t find elsewhere before heading through the vast open western wilderness. April was a time or organization before waiting a few more weeks for the snow in the Rockies to melt. It all had to be timed just right because leaving too late in the spring might mean getting stuck in the mountains by the snow of the coming winter, and that could result in disaster. Nice Spring weather was the key to a good start. On April 2, 1837 the weather failed to cooperate dumping 17” of snow in St. Lois and as much as 24” in nearby towns just to the west delaying the start of many wagon trains.
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