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Lewis and Clark Live Re-Enactment Returns to N. Oregon Coast's Seaside

Published 08/10/22 at 7:25 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Lewis and Clark Live Re-Enactment Returns to N. Oregon Coast's Seaside

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(Seaside, Oregon) – A wee bit over 200 years ago, the most of famous of Oregon coast tourists showed up around Seaside. Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery had planted themselves near present-day Warrenton in November of 1805, and a couple of days after Christmas they sent a group southward to boil salt for meat preservation. (Photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

A few days after that, near New Years Day, actually, the group found a good spot that was close to the sea and set up camp for awhile.

That place was at what is now known as Seaside, and this historic Oregon coast encampment is celebrated by Seaside on September 10 and 11 with the Lewis and Clark Saltmakers program. It happens on the beach at the bottom of Avenue U, running from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and then 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

There, thanks to the Seaside Museum and a grant from the City of Seaside, the Saltmakers set up camp, a re-enactment by members of the Pacific Northwest Living Historians (PNLH), where they create the stone structures and fires and actually boil salt the old fashioned way – the 200-year-old method. The interpreters will also share the history and stories of the legendary expedition with everyone who comes to the beach.

Lewis and Clark Salt Makers is a free interactive learning opportunity for the entire family.

Here and at Fort Clatsop near Astoria, the troupe endured a miserable, soggy winter – the type that Oregon coast visitors are now used to. At one point, Clark, Sacagewea and a few others trekked down this way, met briefly with the men at the camp, and then cut their own path over a completely rugged and untouched Tillamook Head to get to a stream on the other side.

That other side was Ecola Creek at current Cannon Beach, and the reason for the visit was to snag some whale parts from a beached whale the local tribe were cutting up. Ecola is the native name for “whale.”

Those at Seaside stayed until near the end of February, returning to Fort Clatsop close to when the entire Corps of Discovery left in early March of 1806.

Seaside's Lewis and Clark Saltmakers program is also supported by the Sandy Cove Inn and Owsley Wood services.

Down the street, the Seaside Saltworks is an accurate replica of what the Corps used to boil salt, and as far as historians know it is the actual place where they set up the operation. It's based on talks with surviving tribal members well over 100 years ago.

Call 503.738.7065 for more information.

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