Centuries before the coming of the pioneers, the Platte River Valley was used by Native Americans. Used by early fur traders in 1812, the route became the major access point to the central Rockies after 1841. This major “Highway of the West” was used by wagon trains on the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails for over 30 years. From the 1840s through the 1860s, the trail along the Platte River, which included the Fort Casper area, was in a very real way the “main street of the continent.” The area was of tactical and commercial importance during the peak years of emigration. The trail paralleled the North Platte River in eastern Wyoming, with most of its traffic on the south bank.