Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fort Clatsop


Having spied the Pacific Ocean for the first time a few weeks earlier, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark cross to the south shore of the Columbia River (near modern-day Portland).
It was on this day in 1805, that they began building the small fort that would be their winter home.

For their fort, Lewis and Clark picked a site three miles up Netul Creek (now Lewis and Clark River), because it had a ready supply of elk and deer and convenient access to the ocean, which the men used to make salt. The men finished building a small log fortress by Christmas Eve; they named their new home Fort Clatsop, in honor of the local Indian tribe.
Image result for Fort Clatsop


During the three months they spent at Fort Clatsop, Lewis and Clark reworked their journals and began preparing the scientific information they had gathered. Meanwhile, the enlisted men and fellow travelers hunted and trapped-they killed and ate more than 100 elk and 20 deer during their stay.
While the stay at Fort Clatsop was peaceful, it was not entirely pleasant. The Clatsop Indian tribe was friendly, but Clark noted that the Indians were hard bargainers, which caused the expedition party to rapidly deplete its supply of gifts and trading goods, and eventually caused some resentment on both sides.
 


Most vexing, though, was the damp coastal weather–rain fell all but twelve days of the expedition’s three-month stay. The men found it impossible to keep dry, and their damp furs and hides rotted and became infested with vermin. Nearly everyone suffered from persistent colds and rheumatism.
The expedition departed for home from soggy Fort Clatsop on March 23, 1806. History.com


The original Fort Clatsop decayed in the wet climate of the region but was reconstructed in 1955 from sketches in the journals of William Clark.

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