Lewis and Clark National
92343 Fort Clatsop Road
Astoria, OR 97103-9197
(503) 861-2471 ext. 214
WELCOME to Station Camp
The Corps spent just 10 days here, but used
Station Camp as a departure point for an overland trek to their first
view of the Pacific Ocean and an exploration of the area. Together
with nearby Dismal Nitch, Station Camp helps greatly to tell the Lewis
and Clark story in Washington.
The Corps met �near disaster� at Dismal
Nitch, to arrive �in full view of the ocian� at Station Camp.
Also, both before and after Captains Lewis and Clark established
Station Camp, the site was a vital and thriving Chinook Indian
For thousands of years, the Chinook people have
lived along the Columbia River and their home near the river�s mouth
was strategically located to provide abundant food, such as salmon and
shellfish. In addition, the nearby forests were home to game animals
and the grasslands and marshes provided ample materials for making
shelter, clothing and trade and household goods. The river provided a
way for Chinook traders to travel to the south shore and up and down
They developed a sophisticated, rich culture and
enjoyed great success as traders. The waterway near Station Camp
became a virtual trade �water highway.� During the 10 years before
Lewis and Clark arrived overland at the this spot almost 90 trade
ships from Europe and New England are documented to have crossed the
Columbia River Bar to trade with American Indians.
These ships brought metal tools, blankets,
clothing, beads, liquor and weapons to trade for beaver and sea otter
pelts. By the time the Corps reached the site, the Chinook�s had
moved to their winter village and this village was unoccupied. The
explorers spent almost two weeks there.
Several significant events took place, including
the decision to spend the winter across the river, in what is now
Oregon. It was Nov. 24, 1805, and the explorers desperately needed to
lead the Corps to a winter campsite, one rich with game and near
friendly tribes who would trade for supplies.
A majority of the Corps, including the Indian
woman Sacagawea and the African American York decided to cross the
Columbia River to look for such a place. Because of this poll and
decision, some historians call Station Camp �the Independence Hall
of the American West.� It would be more than fifty years before
African Americans could vote, and more than 100 years before the right
was extended to women.
Did You Know?
Sacagawea was stolen as a young girl from the Shoshone by the
Minnetare/Hidatsa people. In the journals Sacagawea is called
"Bird Woman" and in the Minnetare/Hidatsa language Sacagawea
means "Bird Woman."
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