By Steve Walsh
Stephen Harriman Long was a U.S. army explorer, topographical engineer, and railway engineer. As an inventor, he is noted for his developments in the design of steam locomotives. He was also one of the most prolific explorers of the early 1800s.
In his 1820 expedition, Long and 19 men traveled up the North Platte River to the Rocky Mountains. After finding and naming Long’s Peak, the expedition journeyed down the South Platte to the Arkansas watershed.
In his report of the expedition, Long wrote that the Plains from Nebraska to Oklahoma were "unfit for cultivation and of course uninhabitable by a people depending upon agriculture." On the map he made of his explorations, he called the area a "Great Desert."
Stephen Long: Frontier Explorer is Number Eighteen in the Now You Know Bio series.
Steve Walsh is the author of four books in the Great Lives in Colorado History series: Enos Mills , Chief Ouray, Zebulon Pike, and Bill Hosokawa.