Fort Clatsop destroyed by fire
By JOSEPH B. FRAZIER
Associated Press Writer
WARRENTON — Fort Clatsop, a popular tourist attraction and replica of where the Lewis and Clark expedition spent the soggy winter of 1805-1806 after reaching the Pacific, has been destroyed by fire, park superintendent Chip Jenkins said today.
Volunteer firefighters worked for hours Monday night to try to save the fort at the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park, Jenkins said, but "half of the fort was burned up, and the other half is essentially a loss.''
The cause of fire has not yet been determined. Investigators began looking for the cause this morning.
Gov. Ted Kulongoski planned to inspect the damage today.
The fire happened just 40 days before a Lewis and Clark Bicentennial event was scheduled to be held at the fort, the culmination of a two-year, national celebration of the explorers' journey West.
"We will rebuild,'' Jenkins said. "The Lewis and Clark Bicentennial events will go on through the winter.''
There was no electricity or gas source in the fort, Jenkins said.
Fort Clatsop is the centerpiece of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, which is among the newest of the nation's 388 national parks and the second one in Oregon. The park is made up of several sites in Oregon and Washington tied to the westward end of the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-1806.
The park covers 10,000 acres, including a six-mile trail under construction that traces the route the explorers used to get from Fort Clatsop, south of Astoria, to the sea.
The 50-by-50-foot fort was built by the local community in 1955, according to the park's Web site.
Fort Clatsop contained a replica of the explorers' winter quarters, based on drawings and descriptions in the journals of William Clark and Meriwether Lewis.
There were regular demonstrations of weaponry and of skills the explorers relied on, such as tanning elk hides and making clothing.
The replica fort was built in 1955 to mark the sesquicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition. It was built near the site where experts believe the original stood.
I have visited the site several times. We still have plans to take our local Scout Troop to the festivities. In time it will be rebuilt.
L & C were MEN. Their journey is nothing short of remarkable. Tons of books outlining their journey. Many are work the read. As the original post listed, the fort replica is where the Corps of Discovery spent the winter of 1805/1806. They also ran out of booze and tobacco at Christmas and soon realized that the Oregon Coast in the winter rain can really suck.
You'd be a tough sonofabitch too with a name like Meriwether.
Agree with OrARGB. A great read is Undaunted Courage by the late Stephen Ambrose. L&C were the toughest white boys in the U.S. For a modern equivalent: imagine treking through thousands of miles of land inhabited by radical Muslims who wanted to kill all white men.