What do you do when you run out of salt – and the nearest store is more than 2,000 miles away?
The supply of much-needed salt used to preserve meat and add flavor to meals was almost exhausted as the members of the Lewis & Clark expedition began to prepare for their arduous journey home. So the members of the Corps of North Western Discovery did the only thing they could: make their own salt.
On December 28, 1805, Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark sent forth a special detachment from their winter quarters at Fort Clatsop. Five men traveled overland from the Fort to the coast, searching for the best location for making salt. On January 1, 1806, the fifth day of their search, these men found the perfect spot and set up camp on the beach of present-day Seaside, Oregon. They proceeded to make salt by boiling seawater for nearly two months, all while enduring the wet winter weather before they returned to Fort Clatsop.
The reenactment of this event has become a tradition of the Seaside Museum over the past 15 years. It continues with third-person interpretation provided by members of the Pacific Northwest Living Historians (PNLH). PNLH interpreters will create and share the experience of the Lewis & Clark exploration group, bringing to life the salt camp which those explorers established 214 years ago.
Lewis & Clark Salt Makers will take place on the beach west of the Avenue U, and Prom intersection on September 12, from 9 am to 6 pm, and September 13, from 9 am to 3 pm.
Visitors to the program will enter the camp and find members of the PNLH busy making salt, as they boil seawater 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. The project is 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 Vacation Condos.
Mandated COVID 19 precautions will be enforced, requiring face coverings and social distancing.
For more information, call the Seaside Museum at (503) 738-7065.
Preserving Seaside’s History since 1974, the Seaside Museum and Historical Society is a non-profit educational institution located at 570 Necanicum Drive, Seaside. Due to COVID 19 precautions, the Museum is closed until further notice.
Contact: Tita Montero, Museum Board Vice President 503-440-4454