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October 06, 2005

More on Fort Clatsop

The followup stories are starting to appear and several of them focus on the community effort to build the replica 50 years ago.

Here's one from the Eugene Register-Guard "Astoria old-timer Robert Lovell remembered the site before he and others pitched in to build the replica. It was a neglected piece of historical real estate, with a bronze marker and, usually, litter left behind by its few visitors. A new chapter of the Jaycees had just been launched at the time, said Lovell, 85, and several of the group's up-and-coming businessmen seized on the idea of building a replica of the Corps of Discovery's winter shelter...A Finnish foreign exchange student who had built log cabins for the Finnish army provided technical advice for a crew of Scandinavian-immigrant carpenters and others who volunteered to build the fort, Lovell recalled. The wife of a businessman organized baby-sitting on the construction site so young parents could put in a few hours on weeknights before dark, Lovell said."

And then this part: "After the replica fort was built, Lovell recalled, the National Park Service had little interest in maintaining the structure. The local Lions Club managed the site until 1978, when it was added to the Fort Clatsop National Memorial." So it went from being something the community built on its own, to something the National Park Service somewhat grudgingly took on, to being the centerpiece of the bicentennial celebration.

Here's an article from the Salem Statesman Journal (consolidation has evidently swept through small-town Oregon newspapers): "Three Salem men who helped build Fort Clatsop five decades ago were saddened Tuesday to learn that the historic landmark had been destroyed by fire...Lauderdale helped clear brush at the site. Jacobson steadied many of the heavy logs. Long nailed some of the large cedar shakes to the roof." I didn't realize that it had just had a celebration of 50 years on August 21.

It's also been pointed out that the replica wasn't super-authentic (the logs were milled on a machine) and here's a call to rebuild it the old-school way--using only technology available 200 years ago (although the local elk population has taken a beating, so they may need to head down to Fred Meyer to buy chow).

Posted by AdamBa at October 6, 2005 10:10 AM

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