David Vixie is a name that quickly became well-known in the world of education. As a multi-award-winning educator, he is known for his innovative and unconventional teaching methods. He believes in encouraging his students to become independent thinkers who can critically and logically navigate through life's situations, instead of being reflectors of someone else's thoughts and doing the minimum required to get by.
One of Vixie's most notable endeavors was his attempt to move past the conventional way of educating by simulating a historic American wagon migration from the East to the West via the Oregon and California trails. This was a massive undertaking, but Vixie was determined to make it happen and that's where we came in.
In 2019 HWWS was commissioned to build four covered wagons for David Vixie to replace his existing fleet of wagons that were sadly lost in a California wildfire. David's intent with these wagons was to have each wagon represent a different time period in order to highlight the evolution of design throughout the Western migration.
To start extensive research was performed by Doug Hansen in collaboration with Mr. Vixie to ensure accuracy in the the exact replication process of each wagon build.
The first wagon was an 1840s Prairie Schooner featuring a rave framed bed and clouted wooden axles, set for oxen.
The second, an 1850s immigrant wagon with a smooth side bed and steel skein lynch pin axles, set up for mules and oxen.
The third wagon was an 1880 wagon with a square-end wagon box, cast skein, and nut axles that was set up for mules.
And last but certainly not least, a custom 5th wheel wagon circa 1890, built on the express wagon design.
Having built replicas at many of the historic sites along the Oregon-California Trail the craftsman here at HWWS are so proud to have played an important role in providing these historically accurate wagons.
Below are some photos of HWWS taking the vehicles out for a little test drive before shipping them out to David Vixie.
Overall, David Vixie is a true visionary in the field of education. His dedication to helping students become independent thinkers is truly inspiring, and we were honored to have been able to help him with his project. We hope that his experience-based teaching methods will continue to inspire educators around the world to think outside the box and find new ways to help their students succeed.
What's really neat is that Little Light Studios even captured one of these journeys and created a 10-episode series where they document the experiences and lessons learned by students during their trip. This unique experience gave them a new appreciation for the hardships that their ancestors faced and helped them develop critical thinking skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.
If you would like to watch them, we have attached them below for your viewing pleasure. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!