18 April 2009

My Neck of the Woods - Fort Nisqually

Fort Nisqually is literally in the middle of Tacoma. One second you are on a city street, complete with houses and fast food and a right turn later you are on the five mile drive that winds through the old growth forest of Point Defiance Park where one fork dumps you at the zoo and the other drops you into the middle of the 1800's at Fort Nisqually. (Links take you to two different pages about the fort)
While on a trading expedition down the Sound last Spring with 8 or 9 men, I applied 12 days of our time to the erecting of a store-house 15 by 20...This is all the semblance of a settlement there is at this moment: But little as it is, it possesses an advantage over all the other settlements we have made on the Coast.

--Archibald McDonald,
Founder of Fort Nisqually
May 1833
Our family visits the zoo a few times during the year and we usually do a stop at the fort or the logging trains for a short while just to see what is happening, but once a year we make it a point to go to the Brigade Encampment. There are a small number of recreationists on staff throughout the year to handle group tours and educational programs, but for the Brigade Encampment over 100 reenactors pour in from all over to assume their roles of traders, pioneers, Hudson Bay personnel, and Native Americans to give you a chance to truly see life in and around the fort more than 150 years ago.

Last year due to a great deal of construction, the encampment was limited and we didn't attend, so we are truly looking forward to August and seeing all of the new changes and rebuilding at the Fort based on the original architectural drawings and archaeological research that has been done.

David loves that he can be hired by Hudson Bay along with all the other children in the "Engagé for the Day" program where they can take part in actual camp activities learning new skills, such as firestarting with flint and steel, blacksmithing, or spinning wool! It is a great lesson before he has to return to Anime and Wii.

Next month for the first time I want to go for the Spring event of Queen Victoria's birthday. This one is a shade more for the adults though children are welcome as the ladies in their hoop skirts invite you in for the celebration and the bagpipers in full regalia gather to honor her majesty.

If you are in the Tacoma region, the whole of Point Defiance is not to be missed as a respite from the fast pace of modern life with activities for the whole family, but don't miss Fort Nisqually for a real bit of time travel.


maryt/theteach said...

Oh Jamie, I'd love to visit this lovely place. We have a few places like this in New Jersey, Long Island and Massachusetts... If I EVER get out to the West coast... :)

Linda said...

Looks like quite the place and I love that they do the re-enactments there, too. I'd be there myself if I lived close by (well, not doing any of the re-enacting but enjoying those that did!).

Travis said...

There's so much to see around here! I can't believe I've been in the state for nearly 5 years and haven't seen much at all.

maryt/theteach said...

I don't pull out dandelions either, Jamie! Hope you had a good weekend...

Anonymous said...

Girl, I love those re-enactment "museums." I got the privilege of spinning with my wheel at a log cabin near here about 20 years ago. But, I'd much rather be served tea and hear bagpipes!

See, now I have to come to Tacoma!

Tumblewords: said...

A quick trip from Spokane to Tacoma this past weekend for a surprise birthday party left me with little time to do more than window gawk. I hope to get back there soon and see it all - the Glass Museum, Chihuly Bridge, well, my list is long. Nice post!