Researcher donates Donner Party artifacts to Truckee-Donner Historical Society |

Researcher donates Donner Party artifacts to Truckee-Donner Historical Society

Submitted to the Sierra Sun

The Truckee-Donner Historical Society has been presented with a historical artifact collection from Dr. Johan Hultin and family that include photographs, slides, negatives, proofs, a book and a framed map that detail the findings of wagon wheels and tree stumps presumed to be Donner Party related.

Hultin, a noted San Francisco pathologist and a researcher, and his wife, Gunvor, immigrated to the United States from Sweden in 1949 and eventually "immigrated" to California in 1957. Hultin was very interested in America's historic western migration and especially the Emigrant Trail.

According to a news release, the Hultin family spent long weekends exploring the Emigrant Trail, and in particular the area around the Donner Camp site on Highway 89. In the early 1960s, Hultin excavated a portion of a wagon wheel and assorted artifacts from the Great Salt Lake Desert, and presented those findings and one of the rescued "Donner Stumps" to the Donner Memorial State Park to keep the stumps from being used as firewood.

In about 1964, the Hultin family donated this partial wagon wheel and iron hub to a Donner Museum ranger. The photograph shows the famed Pioneer Monument in the background.

At some point in the late 1960s, the one partial wagon wheel that had been donated to the then Donner Memorial State Park Museum was on display and is now presumed to be at the artifacts collection facility in Sacramento. The new Donner Memorial State Park Visitors Center was opened in 2015.

"The Truckee-Donner Historical Society is extremely grateful for these donations," a news release states. "In the near future, the donated images will be available for viewing online at the Society's website Image Collection at"

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Source: Truckee-Donner Historical Society