On our way back from a weekend in Truckee, California, last summer, we made a point to stop by Pioneer Memorial, which pays homage to the ill-fated Donner Party.
The group of pioneers made the trek across the Western Plains and mountains to reach California during the 1840s. However, they were trapped by harsh weather during the winter of 1846-1847. Without adequate supplies or shelter, many perished and survivors resorted to cannibalism to remain alive.
The Donner Memorial State Park in the Sierra Nevadas has been designated a National Historic Landmark.
Work on the monument began in 1901, near the cabins that sheltered the party. In 1918, a ceremony including Donner Party survivors donated the monument and surrounding area to the State of California.