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Living Lewis and Clark Program Returns to North Oregon Coast, Seaside

Published 09/14/2018 at 5:17 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Living Lewis and Clark Program Returns to North Oregon Coast, Seaside

(Seaside, Oregon) – It's the return of the "Return of the Salt Makers" to the north Oregon coast.

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The October event answers the question: What do you do when you run out of salt – and the nearest store is more than 2,000 miles away?

When the explorers of the Lewis and Clark expedition arrived at the Pacific coast in 1805, they needed salt to preserve meat, along with adding a little flavor to their meals. But the supply of salt which they acquired in St. Louis, before they began their long and arduous voyage across the vast American West, was exhausted.

So the members of the Corps of North Western Discovery – as Captain Meriwether Lewis called the party in his journal – did the only thing they could: make their own salt.

On December 28, 1805, Lewis and Capt. William Clark sent forth a special detachment from their just-completed winter quarters at Fort Clatsop. Five men travelled overland from the Fort to the coast, searching for the best location for making salt. On January 1, 1806, the fifth day of their search, these men found the perfect spot: the beach of present day Seaside, Oregon. Here is where they set up camp. Along with several other men who rotated in and out of the salt camp, they proceeded to make salt by boiling sea water for nearly two months, all while enduring the wet winter weather of of the future Oregon coast, before they returned to Fort Clatsop.

On October 6th and 7th, interpreters from the Pacific Northwest Living Historians (PNLH) will once again bring to life the salt camp which those explorers established 212 years ago, in a program titled “Lewis and Clark Salt Makers” - which has been called the Return of the Salt Makers in the past. The event site will be at the west end of Avenue U in Seaside, near The Tides By The Sea Motel.

After a brief orientation, visitors to the program will enter the camp to “meet” members of the Lewis and Clark expedition, who will be busy making salt by boiling sea water over a fire.

Although this living history program will be part of the 50th Annual Meeting of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation (LCTHF), it is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Oregon Chapter of the LCTHF. The PNLH will also stage the program in collaboration with the Seaside Museum & Historical Society, Seaside Public Works Department, Clatsop County Work Crew, The Tides By The Sea Motel and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. The history program also acknowledges the hard work of Bev and Mike Carrick of Turner, Oregon; without whose assistance, this program would not be possible.

For more information: contact the PNLH at privatejwhitehouse@gmail.com. Lodging in Seaside - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

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