I. CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE SITE (continued)
D. Historical narrative and bibliography
Significance of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The journey of Lewis and Clark and their companions from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean and back again during 1804-1806 is one of the best known and most dramatic events in the history of the United States. Its results were many and far-reaching. It marked the first journey across the North American Continent between the Spanish possessions on the south and British Canada on the north. It strengthened the American claim to the Oregon Country. It directly stimulated American fur traders, such as John Jacob Astor, to push operations into the Far West. It made available a great deal of geographical, scientific, and ethnographic information about a vast area hitherto entirely unknown. In so doing, it gave residents of the United States something concrete with which their minds could deal, towards which they could turn their plans of trade, settlement, and expansion.
Not least, the expedition gave the expansion of the American frontier one of its greatest epics. The skill, perseverance, tact, and calm determination shown in overcoming almost overwhelming difficulties encountered in crossing thousands of miles of hostile wilderness have served to inspire generations of Americans. Its impact on the American mind and imagination is amply demonstrated by the way travelers to the Columbia River area, as early as 1811, went considerable distances out of their way merely to see where Lewis and Clark had wintered at Fort Clatsop.
Yet, historians have found it difficult to assess the contributions made by the expedition. History is not a science which may be studied by controlled experiments. Events cannot be repeated, leaving out one factor, to determine what would have happened originally had that factor not been present. And, in the case of Lewis and Clark, the problem is made even more difficult by the fact that the information they brought back was so long in reaching the public.
The consensus remains, however, that the Lewis and Clark Expedition was an event of major significance in the history of the United States. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, it was "all that an exploration ever should be."
Overland to the Pacific. The problem of finding an easy route--preferably by water--across the North American continent was one which had occupied many persons since the time of Columbus. Thomas Jefferson was intrigued by the possibilities of such a discovery, and for 20 years prior to 1803 the exploration of a new track westward to the Pacific from the Mississippi River had been in his mind; Several times he had encouraged persons to undertake the task, but all such projects were premature.
After the turn of the century, however, reports that British fur-trading interests were planning to expand operations overland to the Pacific made action by the United States more urgent. As President, Jefferson was in a position to act. On January 18, 1803, he sent a private message to Congress urging the development of trade with the Indians of the Missouri Valley and requesting an appropriation for a journey of discovery to the Pacific to investigate the possibilities of commerce, to gather scientific knowledge, and to learn something of the far western Indians. A meager $2500 was granted.
The command of the expedition was given to Captain Meriwether Lewis, Jefferson's private secretary. Lewis associated his old friend and army comrade, Lieutenant William Clark, in the leadership; and the names of the joint commanders have ever since been linked in fame.
Instructions issued to Lewis by Jefferson on June 30, 1803, outline the purposes of the expedition, chief of which was "to explore the Missouri river, & such principal stream of it, as, by it's course & communication with the waters of the Pacific Ocean, may offer the most direct & practicable water communication across this continent, for the purpose of commerce." Particular care was to be taken to record all scientific and geographical facts observed during the journey.
Before Lewis left Washington, news was received of the purchase of Louisiana from France. This event obviated the delays, uncertainties, and even dissimulations which would have been necessary for travel through foreign territory.
The party was assembled and trained in frontier techniques during the winter of 1803-1804 in Illinois, across the Mississippi from St. Louis. The men were enlisted personnel of the United States Army, and only the fact that their pay and subsistence were thus provided enabled the expedition to keep costs within its small appropriation.
In the spring of 1804 Lewis was called to St. Louis to assist in the ceremony of transfer of Upper Louisiana to the United States . Meanwhile, Clark brought the men and equipment across the river to St. Charles, where Lewis joined them. From the latter point the expedition set out on May 21, 1804, in a keelboat and two pirogues up the Missouri. That season they reached the Mandan villages near the present Bismark, North Dakota, and there they erected a log fort and went into camp for the winter.
Having sent back the keelboat and part of the company, the real expedition got under way from Fort Mandan on April 7, 1805. The party consisted of the 2 leaders; 26 enlisted men; 2 interpreters; Clark's Negro servant, York; the interpreter Charbonneau's Indian wife, Sacajawea; and her infant son--33 in all.
The Missouri and its Jefferson Fork were ascended to the Rocky Mountains. When the end of navigation was reached in August, the company was able to obtain horses and a guide from the Shoshone Indians. With this assistance, the party succeeded in crossing the divide to the upper waters of the Clearwater River. Following down that stream, the Snake, and the Columbia, the company, traveling once again by water, on November 7, 1805, reached a point on the north bank of the Columbia near the present Altoona, Washington. Here the men thought they could see the Pacific Ocean in the distance.
"Great joy in camp we are in view of the Ocian, this great Pacific Octean which we been so long anxious to See," wrote Clark in his journal.  The reaction of the men, as recorded in the diaries, leaves no doubt but that they considered that the main object of their journey had been accomplished at this spot.
However, they later realized that what they had seen was not actually the ocean but the estuary of the Columbia River. Their first actual view of the ocean came on November 15, from the expedition's camp near the present town of McGowan, Washington. During the next day or two Sergeant Patrick Gass recorded in his journal, "We are now at the end of our voyage, which has been completely accomplished." 
Lewis and Clark and a number of the men walked from the camp down to the ocean near Cape Disappointment, but there is every indication that this action was considered anticlimactic. The men had already concluded that they had reached the Pacific.
The camp near McGowan was exposed to the full force of the sea winds, and game was scarce in the neighborhood. The leaders had hoped to meet a trading ship at the mouth of the Columbia from which their supply of trade goods could be replenished for the homeward journey, but the uncomfortable condition of their party--wet, out of provisions, clothes worn and rotted--made it necessary for them to think of turning inland. Hearing from the Indians that conditions were better on the south side of the river and knowing that a location near the coast there would be convenient for making salt, which was badly needed, the company, by a vote, decided to seek a suitable camp there. If none should be found after a reasonable search, the plan was to start the return journey at least as far as the Mount Hood area, living off the country as conditions best permitted. 
Location for winter quarters. The company crossed to the south bank of the Columbia and started downstream. High waves and stormy weather made progress difficult, and the party was halted at the present Tongue Point. Captain Lewis and a few companions went ahead to scout, and on December 5 the leader returned to announce that he had found "a good situation and Elk sufficient to winter on" by a small river a short distance to the west. Two days later the main party moved to this location. Clark described the place as follows in his journal:
Gass and Ordway in their journals contribute the information that the Netul River--the Indian name for the stream on which they camped--was about 100 yards wide opposite the new site; and Gass contradicted Clark by saying that the location was only 2 miles above the mouth of the river. He adds that the men carried their luggage to a spring, where they made camp. 
Building Fort Clatsop. Cutting trees and clearing the site for the proposed fort began almost at once, surely by December 9; and by the evening of the 10th foundations were laid for the "huts." The raising of the walls began on the 11th. The log work for the cabins was completed on December 14th, and the men began to roof one room, for a "meat house," with split puncheons 10 feet long, 2 feet wide, and about 1-1/2 inches thick.
The roofing of all the rooms was completed by December 24. The walls were daubed or "chinked" with mud, and the rooms had puncheon floors. Living quarters were equipped with puncheon bunks. The captains moved into their still unfurnished rooms on December 23. Some of the men moved into the new quarters on Christmas Eve, and all were under cover to celebrate Christmas.
The men were glad to get in out of the rain, but they soon found themselves uncomfortable again--their fires smoked "verry bad." Only the officers' rooms had chimneys originally, so the men set to work putting "backs and enside chimneys" in the living quarters . Other touches of comfort were "a wide slab hued to write on" for each of the officers "and a table and two seats" for their use. Mats of "rushes and flags" were purchased from the Indians.
Following Christmas, the journals indicate that the men began to erect pickets and gates. There were two gates, a main gate which was locked at night and a water gate which could be used by the garrison at any hour, though at night it was opened and closed by the sentinel.
The fort was considered completed on the evening of December 30, although the next day a sentinel box was built and 2 "sinks" were dug. The new structure was named "Fort Clatsop" after the Clatsop Indians who inhabited the neighborhood.
The Lewis and Clark journals do not contain a description of the post, but two ground plans--which do not entirely agree--drawn by Clark give quite a detailed idea of it.  According to these diagrams the post was 50 feet square. One side was formed by a cabin containing three rooms, each with what seems to be a central fire- place. These were the quarters for the men. The opposite side of the square was formed by another long cabin containing four rooms, two (or possibly three) with fireplaces and one with an outside chimney. Two of these rooms were the officers' quarters, and one was the "meat house." The latter had a fireplace and a door with a lock. The officers' rooms, at least, had windows. The space between the two cabins formed a parade ground 20 feet wide and 48 feet long. The ends of the parade were closed by pickets, and the main gate was in the center of one wall, evidently that facing south (see Maps 7 and 8).
Winter at Fort Clatsop. After moving into their new quarters, the members of the company spent three miserable additional months in the lower Columbia region. They were plagued by rain, sickness, and fleas. Hunting merely to get food to keep alive took up a consider able portion of the time. A small party was sent over to the coast, to the site of the present Seaside, to boil ocean water to make salt. Several expeditions went out to explore the surrounding country, notably one headed by Clark which visited the coast south of Tillamook Head. Perhaps the most important activity undertaken during this period was the reworking of the journals by the leaders, and the preparation of organized accounts of the scientific data gathered thus far during the journey. Here also Clark prepared many of the maps which were among the most significant contributions of the expedition.
Yet, as Clark admitted in his journal, the stay at Clatsop was not without its better side. "At this place," he wrote on the day of the expedition's departure, "we . . . have lived as well as we had any right to expect, and we can say that we were never one day without 3 meals of some kind a day either pore Elk meat or roots, notwithstanding the repeated fall of rain which has fallen almost constantly since we passed the long narrows." 
Return journey. At one o'clock on the afternoon of May 23, 1806, the men pushed their canoes away from the Fort Clatsop landing place and started their trip home. The route was up the Columbia, the Snake, and the Clearwater drainage to the Rockies. Continuing eastward, the party was divided, so that both the Missouri and the Yellowstone were descended. The company was reunited near the junction of these streams, and the Missouri was rapidly descended. St. Louis was reached on September 23, 1806. The great adventure was ended. 
History of Fort Clatsop, 1806-1849. As has already been seen, there is a tradition, apparently well-founded, to the effect that Lewis and Clark, upon their departure from Fort Clatsop, gave the structure and its furniture to Coboway, or Comowoll, the Clatsop chief who had been so friendly and helpful to the party. According to Coboway's descendants, the chief occupied the fort during the hunting season for 10 or 15 years after the expedition's departure.
We have also examined in considerable detail the manner in which, as early as 1811 when the remains of the fort were in fairly good condition and when Indians who had seen it occupied by the expedition were still available to point out its location, the fort developed into an object of interest to travelers and early Oregon Country settlers and was frequently visited. By this means knowledge of its location became fairly widespread and was passed on from generation to generation.
Occupation of the site, 1849-1901. After the Oregon Country was acquired by the United States in 1846, settlement of the area about the mouth of the Columbia moved at an accelerated rate. S. M. Henell, of Astoria, was impressed with the potential value of the traditional site of Fort Clatsop, and in 1849 he put a man on the property to make improvements, intending to establish a claim on the land. The next year, however, Thomas Scott "jumped" the property and established a claim to it under the Donation Act.
Scott held the site for a short time and then traded it to Carlos W. Shane for another piece of land. Shane, a pioneer of 1846, later stated that his claim to the property dated from 1850. He built a house "a few feet" from the ruins of Fort Clatsop in 1851 and occupied it until 1852 or 1853. 
Shane's brother, Franklin D. Shane, and his brother's wife, Rachel Ada, moved onto the property in August or October, 1852, and about that time Carlos transferred his claim to Franklin and took up another tract farther up the river. 
In 1852 Richard M. Moore came to the Fort Clatsop vicinity with the intention of building a large steam sawmill. The place he desired for the mill was the site of the old Lewis and Clark landing, but this spot was already claimed by Carlos W. Shane. According to a newspaper account of 1900, the two men came to an agreement, and the lines of the Shane claim were moved north to give Moore the site he wanted. 
Apparently there is confirmation of this account. In 1855 Franklin Shane filed legal notice of his claim, saying that the southern boundary touched the west bank of the Lewis and Clark River at a point about 200 yards "below" Moore' s mill. Since the location of the mill is known, the boundary, if "below" means "downstream" (i.e. north), was very close to the 1/4 corner between Sections 35 and 36, T.8N., R.10W., W.M.  Further confirmation of this boundary is found in Gillette's deposition of June 16, 1900, in which he said that Moore built a house on the benchland a few feet south of the division line. The surveyors' notes of 1856 show that "Moore's House" was about 66 feet south and about 197 feet west of the 1/4 corner.
At any rate, the mill was built, and the vicinity of Fort Clatsop soon became quite a lively settlement, "with 35 or 40 people, all busy clearing land, cutting sawlogs, sawing lumber, etc." For 2 or 3 years there was hardly a week that did not find one or more ships there, loading lumber for San Francisco. One witness said that he had seen 5 ships there at one time. In 1853 the Fort Clatsop precinct is said to have polled 56 votes. However, in 1854 the price of lumber dropped, and milling became so unprofitable that the mill closed down. This event and the Indian Wars of 1855 drove people away, and by 1856 there was "only one inhabitant in the entire precinct."  By about 1870 all trace of the mill had disappeared except a great pile of sawdust and some foundation timbers.
Evidently Moore abandoned his claim after the mill closed, because in July, 1857, when Franklin Shane filed a new notification for his own claim, the southern boundary had been moved southward again to 676.5 feet south of the 1/4 corner. The Shane claim once more included the traditional site of the Lewis and Clark landing place. And the southern boundary remained essentially in this position when Donation Certificate No. 5001 was finally issued for Shane's 320.5 acres on October 30, 1877.  The Shane Claim (Donation Land Claim 56) extended down the west bank of the Lewis and Clark River for nearly half a mile from the southeast corner (which was only a short distance south of the old landing), and it extended westward from the river for nearly a mile.
Meanwhile, some rather important changes had taken place up on the benchland where Shane and Moore had built their houses. As late as 1853, if Gillette's memory was accurate, a clearing of half an acre or more which had been made by Lewis and Clark was still evident because of the second-growth timber which stood on it . Surrounding this old clearing were virgin forest and the stumps of original-growth trees cut to feed M ore's mill. About 1853, however, Franklin Shane began to clear his land, and soon he had an orchard set out on the level ground back of his house. In 1856 surveyors following the section line between Sections 35 and 36 reported traversing an extensive "garden" running up the bluff from the river and across the benchland. 
Rachel Ada Shane died in 1855, and Franklin Shane followed her to the grave between 1860 and 1867. His donation land claim, or such of it as had not already been sold, passed to his two daughters, Ada E. (or Elizabeth Ada) Shane and Mary Aramenta Shane.  Both of these daughters, evidently, married men named Smith, Ada, F. B. Smith, and Mary, Wade Hampton Smith. In 1872 Wade Hampton acquired Ada's interest in such portions of the property as had not previously been sold.  His property included the south 1/2 of the claim, upon which the site of old Fort Clatsop was situated.
From the latter date the legal history of the Shane claim becomes complicated. Parcels of land, and clay and mineral rights to various parcels, were disposed of, and then subdivided and re-transferred many times. For the purposes of this study, there seems to be no necessity of following all these changes of ownership, since they throw no real light on the location of the site of Fort Clatsop. The site is fixed independently by evidence other than the chain of title. The important fact is that the site was within the Shane Donation Land Claim, the boundaries of which were reasonably well established as early as 1857 and are marked on present-day maps (see Map 2).
Sometime about 1856 Franklin Shane seems to have lost interest in his orchard and garden on the Fort Clatsop site, and he failed to maintain them. A visitor to the property about 1870 reported the site overgrown with young forest trees about 20 feet high. The house built by Carlos W. Shane had disappeared by that date.  However, between about 1870 and 1872--the date does not seem clearly established--W. H. Smith began to improve the property once again. He built a fairly substantial house on the land, in the locality where the Shane and Moore houses previously stood. This is the house which appears in the 1899 photographs. 
Several years later, between about 1876 and 1879, Joseph B. Stevenson and his wife Louisa moved into the W. H. Smith house. According to Stevenson's daughter, he purchased the place from Smith; but the county records seemingly do not contain documents to attest to such a sale, and Smith later sold to others the property on which this house stood. Evidently, therefore, Stevenson merely rented the tract.
Stevenson, his daughter later recalled, "spared nothing" to make the Fort Clatsop site a fine home for his family. He developed a "lovely" yard, with several fruit trees and a croquet court. Among other economic activities, he made charcoal on the property. During the cleanup activities at the historical monument after World Ware II by local civic organizations, the remains of a charcoal pile or pit were discovered. Perhaps this was a relic of Stevenson's operations. After several years, between about 1881 and 1889, the Stevensons moved to Portland. The subsequent history of the old Smith house is not known, but in 1900 it was "out of repair and tenantless." 
Meanwhile, a temporary economic revival had come to the general vicinity of the Fort Clatsop Site. The old Lewis and Clark landing proved to be a convenient place to tie up ships, and during the summers of 1860-1862 the United States Revenue Service overhauled its cutter there.  During the late 1850's residents of Portland and other inland settlements began to seek relief from the summer heat by spending vacations along the fine sea beaches south of the mouth of the Columbia. It was found that the most convenient way of reaching the coast under transportation conditions then existing was to go by boat to the Fort Clatsop landing and then by hired horse or carriage over the hills to the Clatsop plains and the beach. In July, 1862, the Oregon Steam Navigation Company inaugurated a regular summer service by the s steamer Jennie Clark directly from Portland to Fort Clatsop Landing. 
This service continued for a number of years. Traffic increased considerably after 1873, when Benjamin Holladay opened his famous Seaside House on the beach. On May 6, 1875, W. H. Smith and his wife sold 5 acres of land along the west bank of the Lewis and Clark River to the Oregon Steam Navigation Company for wharf and transfer facilities. This property included the old Lewis and Clark landing place. 
During the late 1870's and early 1880's, the Stevensons, residents on the Fort Clatsop site, operated a line of spring wagons to take passengers back and forth between the landing and the beach, and evidently their service was followed by a regular stage line. By the late 1880's traffic had so increased that larger boats were required to bring down the crowds from Portland. The Lewis and Clark River was too shallow to accommodate these vessels, which had to stop at Astoria. Smaller shuttle boats, like the General Canby, were used for the run between that point and the old landing. The Oregon Rail way and Navigation Company, which succeeded to the assets of the older steamship firm, maintained a wharf and a substantial "wharf room" at Fort Clatsop.
Toward the end of the century other routes of transportation were developed to the coast. By 1905 there was a railroad to Seaside, and the Fort Clatsop wharf was referred to in correspondence as the place where passengers "formerly" landed. Evidently, however, small boats from Astoria still continued to use the landing at that date. 
While Clatsop Landing was still prospering as a transfer point for Seaside passengers, a new industry developed in the vicinity which altered the landscape somewhat near the site of the Lewis and Clark encampment and, apparently, posed a threat to the very ground on which the old fort had stood. It was discovered that the ridge or bluff on which the site was located contained a clay which was well suited for the making of ceramic products.
On September 24, 1887, Mary Shane Smith sold an undivided 1/2 of the rights to the mineral and clay under most of the Shane Donation Claim to the Oregon Pottery Company.  Thereafter, the records of Clatsop County reveal numerous transactions relating to these and other clay rights in the vicinity. Over the next three decades a number of companies, including the Western Clay Manufacturing Company and Gladding, McBean & Co., acquired interests in the neighborhood. The complicated story of these clay right transfers cannot be treated in the present report, but it should be noted that these rights evidently are still valid today and that for some parcels of the former Shane property they apparently are held by persons other than the present land owners.
Apparently there is little information readily available as to exactly where the clay was extracted and how long operations continued. In 1902 a prospective purchaser for part of the south half of the Shane Donation Land Claim stated, "clay has been continuously removed" from the property.  When the Oregon Historical Society purchased its 3-acre tract in 1901, its officers were aware of the danger to the historic Fort Clatsop site resulting from the outstanding right to remove clay, but they were unable to do anything about it. That there may have been good grounds for their fear is revealed by the letter of a person interested in the former Shane property who wrote in 1902 that the 3-acre tract contained "the land most available for clay."  As far as is known, however, no clay was ever actually removed from the fort site proper, although the bluff faces southwest of it appear to show evidence of excavation. Seemingly commercial interest in the deposits had waned by the late 1920's, for when the Oregon Historical Society purchased 2 additional acres in 1928, the clay rights came with the land.
Acquisition of site by Oregon Historical Society. On December 15, 9, the Directors of the Oregon Historical Society, which was then one year old, requested the Society's Committee on Memorials to proceed as soon as practicable to determine the exact locations of certain places of historic interest in Oregon including the "site of the Lewis and Clark encampment near Astoria."  The object of this move was to permit the Society to acquire tracts of land at these sites "for the purpose of erecting monuments upon them" whenever the funds could be obtained. 
On June 8 of the next year, as has been seen, two members of the committee, and a group of early settlers of the vicinity visited the traditional site of Fort Clatsop; and the pioneers pointed out the spot where they remembered having seen, during the 1850's, ruins of log structures which were then said to be the remains of the Lewis and Clark wintering post. On the basis of this evidence, the party marked off the site of the fort, in the committee's words, "as near as can now be determined." 
After much negotiation, which involved the determination and then one or more re-determinations of the most desirable boundaries, the Oregon Historical Society on September 24, 1901 purchased for $250 a 3-acre tract which contained the site of the Lewis and Clark cabins as pointed out by the pioneer settlers, It is interesting to note that for an additional expenditure of about $650, the Society could have acquired a much larger tract, almost 160 acres. This opportunity, however, was rejected. 
Acquisition of Second Oregon Historical Society tract. The Oregon Historical Society had always regretted that the land purchased in 1901 did not include the spring from which the explorers traditionally were believed to have drawn their water. Evidently the spring thus referred to was the one which exists today about 50 feet north of the Oregon Historical Society property and which the Committee on Memorials had believed was included within the Fort Clatsop stockade. This spring was not situated on property which was available for purchase in 1901. During 1926 a proposal was made to add quite a large parcel of property lying north, west and south of the original tract, but nothing came of it. 
In May, 1928, the Society was "suddenly" given an opportunity to purchase about 2 additional acres adjoining its first tract. In soliciting funds to cover the sale price, T. C. Elliott, of the Society, stated that the property thus offered was the "land upon which these springs flow."  This remark was rather strange in view of the fact that when the Society purchased a second tract of 1.9 acres on May 15, 1928, it adjoined the original tract on the south and evidently did not include a second spring which is located at the foot of the bluff southwest of the original three acres. 
Subsequent history of the property. The later administration and development of the Oregon Historical Society property as a historic monument, the acquisition of additional tracts of land by the Clatsop County Historical Society and by Clatsop County, the cooperation of local civic groups in the maintenance of the property, and the growth of the movement to have the site made a national monument are all treated at considerable length and with adequate documentation in Section IV of this report. In order to give some continuity to the account, however, a very brief overall review of the history of the property as a historic monument is given here.
After acquiring the 3-acre tract in 1901, the Oregon Historical Society was able to do little to improve it for a number of years. However, merely by holding it, the Society undoubtedly preserved the Fort Clatsop Site from disturbance and alteration by commercial, agricultural, or residential developments.
A marker was placed on the property in 1912 ; and in or about 1928 the site was cleared of brush, a flagpole was installed, and a bronze tablet erected on a cement base. Clatsop County assisted in this latter project by widening and improving the road leading to the tract. It is recorded that the citizens of Astoria contributed "considerable time and money" toward these improvements; and this cooperative local action has been an important factor in the maintenance and development of the site to the present day.
During subsequent years the Oregon Historical Society kept the property open to the public and, with local help, maintained it as a historic monument as far as the limited funds available would permit. Evidently, however, there were periods when little or no upkeep was performed. This neglect was particularly severe during World War II, due to the Society's "inability to get maintenance help."
By the end of the war the site was in an unsightly condition, being described in the local press as a "garbage dump." The Clatsop County Historical Society, with headquarters in Astoria, in 1947 spearheaded a movement to rehabilitate the area. There followed a series of cleanup projects. The Astoria Junior Chamber of Commerce joined in this work in 1953, and as a result the site was consider ably improved. But it had been realized for some time by the Oregon Historical Society and the local civic groups that volunteer labor alone would not prove adequate in the long run for the proper operation of a historic monument which was increasingly becoming an object of interest to travelers and other sight-seers. Therefore, over the years there had been a series of proposals to have the site maintained by the State Highway Commission, by an agency supported by special local taxes, or by the Federal Government.
All of these matters more or less came to a head late in 1953 and early in 1954 with the development of plans to hold a Lewis and Clark Sesquicentennial Celebration in 1955 along the route of the expedition. The citizens of Astoria determined to center their part of the celebration about the Fort Clatsop Site; and the Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Clatsop County Historical Society formed a group to finance the improvement of the property. The chief feature of the planned development was to be the erection of a full-sized replica of Fort Clatsop on or near the original site. The Oregon Historical Society gave its permission for this project, and steps to bring it to fruition were soon under way.
On February 7, 1955, the Clatsop County Historical Society, through what amounted to a gift from M. A. Riekkola, acquired title to about an acre of ground on the benchland immediately west of the Oregon Historical Society property. On February 15 it leased from Clatsop County another l-acre tract immediately north of the land acquired from Mr. Riekkola.  The larger part of these two acres was cleared, and an extensive graveled parking lot was placed on the southern portion. Adequate entrance and exit roads were developed to this lot.
The Crown Zellerbach Corporation donated the logs needed for the reconstruction of Fort Clatsop, and they were assembled by skilled Finnish workmen using plans which were based upon Clark's drawings. After notching and preliminary assembly, the logs were separated and sent to a treating plant for saturation with chemical preservatives. They were then re-assembled on the Oregon Historical Society property directly west of the historical marker. The replica, which has never been entirely completed, is a reasonable approximation of the Fort Clatsop which is known from the Lewis and Clark records, but a lack of funds and a desire to give the building reasonable permanence resulted in a number of compromises with the facts as presented in the original journals. And it must be admitted that even if all these facts had been followed faithfully, there still would remain room for a good deal of conjecture as to the exact construction of the original fort.
The reconstructed Fort Clatsop was dedicated on August 21, 1955. Other improvements which were part of the same general project included a well, pump, drinking fountain, and picnic tables. A heavy wire fence was subsequently built around the replica to protect it from vandals.
The site continues to be operated as a historic monument by the Oregon Historical Society, in cooperation with the Clatsop County Historical Society. In general, the agreement appears to work as follows: the Portland organization provides policy direction, such funds as are required, and handles certain contractual and legal matters; while the local groups provide the immediate on-the-spot administration, such as the collection of fees and the supervision of maintenance. During the summer of 1956 a caretaker was stationed on the property during the daylight hours so that visitors could gain entrance to the reconstructed fort.
Critical Bibliography. The literature on the Lewis and Clark Expedition is extensive. Most of it, however, depends for basic facts upon a relatively modest list of original source materials. This observation is particularly applicable to accounts of the party's stay at Fort Clatsop. Beyond what appears in the writings of the expedition's members, practically nothing is known of occurrences at the Lewis and Clark camp during the winter of 1805-1806. The only significant additional knowledge on this subject is contained in the reminiscences of several descendants of Indians who associated with the explorers during their winter sojourn near the mouth of the Columbia.
No attempt has been made to examine the original manuscript journals and other records of the expedition during the present investigation. Most of these sources have been printed in such detail and with such care as to remove the necessity for such examination except with regard to unusual problems. During recent years some additional Lewis and Clark manuscripts have come to light, and they remain yet unpublished. Through the courtesy of Mr. Herbert E. Kahler, Chief Historian of the National Park Service, and Mr. Oliver W. Holmes of the National Archives, these new materials have been searched and have been found to contain no information which would be helpful to the present study.
The first authentic narrative of the expedition to appear in print was the journal of Sergeant Patrick Gass. Published in 1307, it has been reprinted many times. Although pedestrian in style, it contains certain information not found elsewhere concerning the activities of the expedition near the mouth of the Columbia. The edition generally used for the present study was Gass's Journal of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Reprinted from the Edition of 1811 (Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co., l904).
The official, and standard, account of the Lewis and Clark exploration was prepared by Nicholas Biddle from the finished log of the journey, supplemented by other manuscripts and journals, including those of Private Joseph Whitehouse and Sergeant John Ordway, and by the personal explanations of George Shannon, a member of the party. Biddle's work was issued under the following title: History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark, to the Sources of the Missouri, thence . . . to the Pacific Ocean . . . Prepared for the Press by Paul Allen, Esquire (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1814). This famous account has also been reprinted a number of times. The best-known of these editions is that prepared by the famous historian Elliott Coues: History of the Expedition under the command of Lewis and Clark . . . A New Edition, Faithfully Reprinted from the Only Authorized Edition of 1814; with Copious Critical Commentary, Pre pared upon Examination . . . of the Original Manuscript Journals and of the Explorers (4 vols., New York, 1893). The annotation provided by Coues has held up quite well despite new facts which have come to light since he wrote; but he took certain liberties with the journal texts as reproduced by Diddle, who, in turn, had made certain refinements, additions, and deletions.
By far the best printed source for knowledge of the Lewis and Clark Expedition is the collection of journals, notebooks, and maps edited by Reuben Cold Thwaites under the title, Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806; Printed from the Original Manuscripts . . . Now for the First Time Published in Full and Exactly as Written (7 vols. and atlas, New York, 1904-1905). Thwaites not only reproduced carefully the complete texts of the Lewis and Clark journals and notebooks available to Biddle and Coues, but also those of several field books, letters, and other manuscripts not known to scholars until 1903. Also reproduced are several journals by members of the party other than Lewis and Clark. Time has proved that some of Thwaites's editing was careless, and many of his notes are now known to be in error, but the exact transcriptions of all of the then available texts and the reproductions of the splendid Clark maps make this work indispensable for serious study of the expedition.
Sergeant John Ordway's journal was not available to Thwaites, but it was later found and edited by Milo M. Quaife in The Journals of Captain Meriwether Lewis and Sergeant John Ordway, Kept on the Expedition of Western Exploration, 1803-1806 (Publications of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Collections, XXII, Madison, 1916). The Ordway journal contains information of importance relating to Fort Clatsop.
The only other original Lewis and Clark source material which needs to be noted here is the condensed version of the journals edited by Bernard DeVoto, The Journals of Lewis and Clark (Boston; Houghton Mifflin Company, 1953). Admittedly not for use by scholars, this skillful abridgment preserves the flavor of the original narratives and provides a fine running account of the trans-continental journey. Unfortunately, the condensation has been so extensive for the period during which the party was at Fort Clatsop that DeVoto's text gives little information on the location or physical structure of the fort. However, the preface and the introduction provide valuable critical commentary upon the sources and a fine summary of the background, accomplishments, and significance of the expedition. Since DeVoto personally visited most of the locations mentioned in the journals, his notes on the geography are illuminating.
Secondary works on the Lewis and Clark expedition are legion. No attempt can be made to list them all here. Perhaps the most useful for the purposes of this study was Olin D. Wheeler, The Trail of Lewis and Clark, 1804-1904 (2 vols., New York, l904). Wheeler made a sincere attempt to follow the route of the explorers, and his was the first serious effort to identify the site of Fort Clatsop. A second edition of this work was issued in 1926.
The geographical background and the significance of the expedition are perhaps nowhere presented so well as in Bernard DeVoto, The Course of Empire Houghton Mifflin Company, 1952). Other secondary works of value for the overall story of the expedition, though they throw little light on Fort Clatsop, are John E. Bakeless, Lewis and Clark, Partners in Discovery (New York; Morrow, 1947); Elijah H. Criswell, Lewis and Clark: Linguistic Pioneers (University of Missouri Studies, XV, Columbia, 1940); and Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of the Northwest Coast (2 vols., San Francisco, 1884).
Periodical literature bearing upon the expedition is also voluminous. One article which should be mentioned because it bears directly upon the topic of this study, is Frederick V. Holman, "Lewis and Clark Expedition at Fort Clatsop," in Oregon Historical Quarterly, XXVII (September 1926), 265-278. Another thoughtful study of the meaning of the expedition is F. G. Young, "The Higher Significance in the Lewis and Clark Exploration," in Oregon Historical Quarterly, VI (March 1905), 1-25.
For one of the main parts of this study-the history of Fort Clatsop after Lewis and Clark left it and the exact location of the site--there was little organized source material available. The facts had to be dug out of a vast assortment of magazine articles, general histories, travelers' narratives, county records, newspaper accounts, and other widely scattered sources. There is no need to list them all here; they have been cited at the appropriate places in the narrative report. As far as could be determined, there has been only one previous serious attempt to assemble this phase of the story. Quite recently the staff of the Oregon Historical Society prepared a typewritten, 5-page paper, "The Fort Clatsop Site" (no place, no date), which was very useful in directing attention to fugitive source materials. In this part of the study, of course, the records of the Oregon Historical Society, both published and manuscript, were of inestimable value, and appreciation is expressed to Mr. Thomas Vaughan, Director, and other members of the Society's staff for making them available.
Many persons and organizations contributed bibliographical information to this study. Special mention must be made of Mr. Otto A. Owen, President, and Mr. Burnby Bell, Corresponding Secretary of the Clatsop County Historical Society, who lent materials from their own collections and made available the Society's scrapbooks, which contain newspaper clippings of much value and which would have been very difficult to find elsewhere. The personal scrapbook of Mr. Walter G. Johnson, Astoria, was also made available for this study, and it too contained many clippings of importance. The records of Clatsop County also contain many items useful to the present investigation, and particular thanks are due to Mr. Emil Berg, County Assessor, and to Mrs. Constance Bernier, Assistant in the County Clerk's Office, for making them accessible. Photographs formed an important part of this study, and many of the present-day ones which appear in this report were taken by Mr. Paul J. F. Schumacher.
Last Updated: 04-May-2004