North West Company clerk John Macdonell mentions the presence of sixteen buildings within the North West Company's stockade at Grand Portage in 1793. Nine years later in 1802, operating the most profitable fur company on the North American continent, the North West Company held their final Rendezvous at Grand Portage. The business moved their inland headquarters north to the Kaministiquia River outlet into Lake Superior, the present site of today's Thunder Bay, Ontario. It is suspected that much of the building timber, window glass, and hardware and furnishings were taken to complete construction on the new site. When former North West Company trader and surveyor David Thompson returns to the location of the post along Grand Portage Bay in 1822, he found that "scarce a vestige remains of all the former Factories; they are covered with rank Grass, and in places a little fine red Clover."
The absence of any period artwork depicting the North West Company depot at Grand Portage has made reconstructing a portion of the past at the site difficult, but the few written records supplemented by the rich archeological discoveries have led to enhancing our understanding of what some of the buildings and furnishings might have looked like over two centuries ago.-
This gallery features examples of an assortment of locks, hinges, handles, building hardware, and the Spanish Brown paint fragments reportedly used to cover the posts, doors, and window frames of the depot.
- This gallery features examples of an assortment of locks, hinges, handles, building hardware, and the Spanish Brown paint fragments reportedly used to cover the posts, doors, and window frames of the depot.