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Beyond Lewis and Clark - Timeline 1871-1879

The Army Explores the West

Wheeler Expedition (1871-1879)

Lt. George Wheeler explored and re-surveyed land west of the 100th meridian. His plan was to divide the West into a system of quadrants and then conduct comprehensive surveys of each. The U.S. Geological Survey continues to use Wheeler's system today. In all, Wheeler made 14 trips into the West, surrounding himself with the best field scientists and artists available. He faced down Death Valley, enduring sunstroke, lack of water, and 120-degree heat to map the desolate terrain.

The Army's control of Western exploration came to an end in 1879 with the creation of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Wheeler expedition, 1871-1879.


Beyond Lewis and Clark is an online exhibit developed by the Kansas Museum of History. It is the result of a partnership between the Kansas Historical Society, the Virginia and Washington State historical societies, the U. S. Army's Frontier Army Museum at Leavenworth, and the U. S. Army Center of Military History.

Contact us at kshs.kansasmuseum@ks.gov