Why These Reenactors Love Their Park

Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site


The easiest part of reenacting is going back into that time period. You really feel like you're almost going back in time. What if I travel in time if I could? Then I'd love to go see what it was like. I saw an article in "Boys Life" magazine on Scouts that also do living history. In the great city in Washington-- I was totally inspired by it. I was interested in the history. That's how this all started. I have a special trailer just for this gear. To get here, it's almost 1100 miles one way. I'm coming down boys. I'm sure I'm in a minority of people in this country that do what I do. Topographically engineers expedition. Some guy comes up and says, hey, I hear you get into this. And I'm like, yeah, kind of. And then all of a sudden you're just, you come out, your whole family looks like this. Parts of it do has seems real at times. Once you get out here, and you meet everybody, you just become a part of the group. Just so you know, that lid was hot. [LAUGHTER] Wherever we go for a rendezvous, it's that same atmosphere. You're walking on the ground that the old boys walked on. There is something that is sacred about this place, whether it's spirits in the past or just the atmosphere of being around the people that I love here. You can read about 30 below in the book. But still you go out and camp on a buffalo robe on the ground and a few blankets. It's 30 below. And you get up to the next morning, and mm-hmm, , well you didn't want to get up. If you do it, if you live it, then you understand what they went to. We are recreating 1864. So I can carry a gun like this. We're shooting wet plate photos. It's a type that was used commonly during the 1850s, Civil War time frame. This is our Sergeant for the weekend, Sergeant Neil Jones. Now, that's good. You're an artist, my friend. Thank you. Today after 25 years of cabinet building, it was getting hard on my feet. When I'm out here, I do a re-enactment of the carpenter. How can you tell their story and not do it the way they did it? I tried to as much as possible not go with any modern day stuff. But it is hard if you wear contacts. It's pretty much just what I take. I take a small thing of travel toothpaste, some travel contact lens solution. I'm trying to hide as much as possible. If it's out of sight, it's out of mind. And if you just cover it up with something period correct. A lot of us try not to even bring any of that if we can. Period correct toothbrush. Along with the tooth powder. You'd mix up with water and brush your teeth. And you'd be good to go. My cell phone is not even anywhere with it near the camp. I mean, if the Holiday Inn is your way of camping, this probably isn't. This is our park, and we love it. And I don't know where to go with that because when you say you love something, it doesn't need a definition, it doesn't need to be explained. To me, Fort Union as a safe place. They can just come out here, and run, and play, and be kids. I feel as comfortable in these clothes as I do any others. Maybe even more so on one occasion. If growing up means not doing what I'm doing, I never want to grow up. When I have to go home, that's a culture shock.


Learn about the volunteers of Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site and why they love this special place and how they found their park.


4 minutes, 59 seconds


NPS / Harpers Ferry Center

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