Fort Clatsop Revisited: The Hunt for the Elusive Pickets

Fort Clatsop

Publication: We Proceed On, Vol. 46, No. 3

Author: Glen Kirkpatrick

Date of Publication: August 2020

PDF File: Kirkpatrick-The-Hunt-for-the-Elusive-Pickets.pdf


The Lewis and Clark Expedition abandoned the original Fort Clatsop on March 23, 1806, but history did not. Beginning with the arrival of the Astorians in 1811, the site of the fort was an object of interest to travelers, and remnants of the fort were still visible as late as the 1850s, when farming obliterated these last traces.1 The Oregon Historical Society acquired the fort’s site in 1901, its location based on the memories of early settlers. But in spite of at least thirteen archeological investigations, beginning in 1948, no physical evidence of the fort has been found.2 It is possible that farming and other land uses have destroyed all traces of the fort. If any evidence still exists, it would be the remnants of the buried pickets.