Learn about history of Santa Fe Trail economy

MikeDickey-(1)There’s a lot of information about personalties and landmarks on the Santa Fe Trail, but how much do you know about its economy?

A talk in February will offer a glimpse. According to the Westport Historical Society, Historian Michael Dickey will focus on the motivations of traders and how trade affected the economy of Missouri, which in 1821 was in a full-blown depression.

Banks in Missouri were non-existent, hard currency was rare, and merchants and farmers were unable to dispose of their stock. But all of that changed with the inauguration of successful trade between Missouri and New Mexico.

By 1839, Missouri was described as being “the soundest in the Union in her monetary affairs,” owing to the trade with New Mexico. This program will analyze the financial impact of the trade and how it provided an economic platform for the development of the new state of Missouri.

Dickey is a native of Independence, Missouri. He has been employed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources since 1986, and has been the historic site administrator at Arrow Rock State Historic Site since 1995. He is also the manager of Sappington Cemetery and Boone’s Lick State Historic Sites. He’s written two books: Arrow Rock: Crossroads of the Missouri Frontier, and The People of the River’s Mouth: In Search of the Missouri Indians, the first book ever published about the Native American tribe for whom the Missouri River and our state are named.

The talk is part of the Second Saturday Speaker series sponsored by The Westport Public Library and the Westport Historical Society.

The talk will be held at 2 p.m.  on February 8, at the Westport Public Library, which is located at 118 Westport Road.  A reception will follow at the 1855 Harris-Kearney House Museum, located across the street at 40th & Baltimore.

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