Earlier today we were in Tillamook Oregon visiting the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Dad, who is a big US history buff, suggested it would be fun to head up the coast a little to Fort Clatsop. What's at Fort Clatsop? You might remember in your US history books that way back when, Lewis and Clark made their way across Northern America. Once they reached the Pacific Coast, it was winter and they needed a place to stay. Their party built Fort Clatsop! Let's explore!
Thursday, September 29, 2022
Visiting Fort Clatsop - Lewis and Clark's Winter Home during their 1805-1806 Expedition
It was about 90 minutes up the coast from Tillamook, and the drive itself was beautiful. Megan, Jon, Mickey, and I all hopped in a car to drive up to it. The rest of the family headed home.
Passing by the water and cute seaside towns.
Here we are! Fort Clatsop!
This site became a National Park back in 2004. Let's go inside the visitor's center.
Inside they were checking to make sure you paid your entry fee for the national park (or had a park pass). Behind the information booth, I was amazed by the number of Junior Ranger badges and patches they've collected here. It's a shame the kids aren't here to earn their own junior ranger badge.
I always like to get an overview of the history of where we're visiting, and the best way I know to do that is to watch the video presentation that is usually shown. We arrived just in time to watch "Confluence of Time and Courage".
There's not too many people here on a Friday, so it was easy to find a seat.
Before this 34 minute presentation, I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've heard the word "Confluence". After this presentation I can add a few more dozen times to that. Confluence means to merge or join, so this is the merging of Time and Courage. It tells the story of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and their commission by Thomas Jefferson to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase.
After the presentation, it was time to explore the rest of the lobby and all the displays.
A statue commemorates the moment the party reached the Pacific Ocean.
The journey across Northern America was meant to be one of establishing an American presence in the area before the other European powers could get there. However, the journey was also one of discovery. Beavers were plentiful and their pelts lured many trappers westwards.
Try on clothes to see how we'd look as explorers?
Perhaps they were intending these clothes to be for a younger audience. They were just a little tight on us. Like, I'm concerned about lowering my arms for fear of overstretching this jacket.
Ooh, don't show this to Alli. She's a fan of those furry trash pandas.
One of the benefits to being among the first to scientifically classify something or document a landscape feature is that you get to name it. Thus, you'll find many "Lewis" or "Clark" animals, rivers, or valleys.
Looking at a diorama of the salt works. Once the Lewis and Clark expedition arrived here in the winter, they found that they'd run out of salt, a very important staple. Men were directed to find a suitable location to make salt, and so they headed to the ocean and created boiling vessels to make salt! We'll explore that a little more in a future post.
Enough looking at the inside of the visitor center, let's go outside!
Just a few hundred yards down this path is Fort Clatsop.
But first, a statue of Sacagawea. Lewis and Clark, knowing they would be going into territories occupied by Native Americans figured they'd need an interpreter and guide.
Down the path in Fort Clatsop!
Or rather the rebuilt Fort Clatsop. The original Fort Clatsop was built in 3 weeks. When the party left, they gifted the fort to the chief of the Clatsop people in the area. The wood was taken and used in other areas. In the 1950s, a reconstruction was built, but a fire destroyed it in 2005. This is the second reconstruction, finished in 2006.
The location of the original fort isn't actually known, as no part of it has been found.
The inside of the reconstructed fort contains beds for many of the men on the expedition, while the leaders had rooms of their own. Looks cozy.
Outside the fort, there were many period actors in traditional clothes, ready to answer questions about the fort, time period, or anything else you wanted to know. Here we learned how Lewis and Clark weren't exactly pioneers, but instead continued on the efforts of many of the other explorers that came before them. We were told how they had maps for many of the places they were out exploring. He was very knowledgeable of all the explorers that came before, and their efforts. It was very enlightening.
Finally, let's use the boardwalks here to head over to the water.
Yep. That's water. The waterways and poles here were useful for trade and moving good backs and forth in this area.
The excessively mossy trees reminded me a bit of the American south.
This was a good stop! I'm glad we took the extra time to come see this part of American history!
Time to head back home.
But first, coffee!
Megan is a bit of a coffee addict, and she adores small town coffee shops. While driving home along the coast, she found this one, just off the ocean.
The inside smelled amazing! Talking with our barista, she and her husband are the owners. They bought it a few years ago, live above the shop, and enjoy brewing coffee and serving it to people. Lovely!
I was curious if our earlier trip across the Washington State Line was a fluke, and just didn't have a "Welcome!" sign. Nope! Every time we entered Washington, all we got was a generic Entering Washington sign. Boo.