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A pack trail used by miners in the 1850s once crossed the 33 acres that now comprise Azalea Park, the City’s “crown jewel.” Eventually the trail became an important segment of the coastal wagon route that ran from California to the Umpqua and Willamette River valleys of Oregon. The magnificent native Azaleas that still stand in the park, were already here when Lewis and Clark wintered in Oregon, back in 1805-06. But the remarkable beauty of the flowering shrubs were not truly appreciated until 1937, when, though overgrown with berry vines and used as a mule pasture, a group of motivated citizens petitioned to have the area designated as a State Park. That designation was received in 1939, and the first Azalea Festival was born.