Native Americans settled for thousands of years in the Truckee Valley. Their camps were on these flats near the river. They used fish blinds near here and left petroglyphs on boulders in the area
The Truckee River runs from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake, and was first discovered by Captain John C. Frémont in January 1844
The Stephens-Murphy-Townsend party in 1844 also followed the Truckee River into the Sierra, and crossed the mountains via Donner Pass. Two years later, the ill-fated Donner party rested in the Truckee Meadows, at present Reno, but they tarried too long and were caught by the Sierra snows. Despite the Donner tragedy, many emigrant trains to California, particularly from 1849 until 1852, traversed the Truckee route
In 1868, the Central Pacific Railroad followed the Truckee’s course. From the 1920s to the 1950s, the surrounding meadows echoed to the heavy exhausts of the giant Southern Pacific, cab-ahead, articulated, steam locomotives. During the same period, the Emigrant Trail, and the early toll roads, were developed into the Lincoln and Victory highways, and then into U.S. 40 and I-80, today’s freeway.