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How Lewis and Clark Return to N. Oregon Coast in September

Published 07/10/2019 at 5:53 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

How Lewis and Clark Return to N. Oregon Coast in September

(Seaside, Oregon) – The north Oregon coast’s most famous early tourists return to the town of Seaside soon.

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Several of Lewis and Clark’s men sauntered down the coastline some 30 miles to what would eventually become Seaside in the late winter of 1805. They were in need of salt, and the nearest salt seller was some 2,000 miles away. They spent a few days traveling southward, looking for the right spot, and then another two months here boiling salt for their needs.

All this comes to life again on September 7 and 8, with the Lewis and Clark Saltmakers event at the end of Avenue U. Re-enactors portray the members of the Corps of Discovery in their saltmaking efforts, actually boiling sea water for salt and talking to the public.

That wet and soggy winter at Fort Clatsop yielded many interesting and landmark events, among them this trip to what would eventually become the north Oregon coast hotspot of Seaside. The group 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.

On December 28, 1805, Meriweather Lewis and Capt. William Clark sent out a special detachment from their just-completed winter quarters at Fort Clatsop. The troupe was comprised of five men, arriving on this beach after a few days of searching. The spot is marked at Lewis and Clark Way next to the Prom: the actual location of the rock oven they used to boil salt, as documented over 100 years ago by a local tribeswoman.

They finally returned to Fort Clatsop in February, enduring a long, wet season, like their comrades.

In the early 2000s, the Seaside Museum, aided by the National Park Service at Fort Clatsop and interpreters from the Pacific Northwest Living Historians (PNLH) initiated a re-enactment of this salt-making expedition. In 2015, the Museum put the event on hiatus. This year the exhibition of salt making by the Lewis & Clark expedition returns.

PNLH interpreters will create and share the experience of that exploration group, bringing to life the salt camp which those explorers established 213 years ago. The program will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Visitors to the program will enter the camp and find members of the PNLH busy making salt, as they boil sea water over a fire just as the men of the Lewis and Clark expedition did in 1806. 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 whole family. This event is sponsored by the Seaside Museum and presented by the PNLH. A portion of this project was made possible through a grant from the City of Seaside Tourism Advisory Committee, funded by room tax dollars. The program is also supported by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Seaside Public Works Department, and The Tides By The Sea Motel.

For more information, call the Seaside Museum at (503) 738-7065. Hotels in Seaside - Where to eat - Seaside Maps and Virtual Tours







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