Lewis and Clark Today Logo

On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

Another rainy day at Fort Clatsop near Astoria, Oregon. Several men are dressing elk hides and the Captains detail Chinook plankhouse construction.

The Clatsops Chinnooks &c construct their houses of timber altogether. They are from 14 to 20 feet wide and from 20 to 60 feet in length, and acommodate one or more families sometimes three or four families reside in the same room.

Meriwether Lewis

Cathlapotle plank house

Large modern plank house made in the traditional way

Photo taken on March 30, 2009 at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

the men are still much engaged in dressing skins in order to cloath themselves and prepare for our homeward journey.
The Clatsops Chinnooks &c construct their houses of timber altogether.

Meriwether Lewis

Two elk skins

Smaller elk hike for making a chap on top of a larger elk skin fur

It rained hard all last night, & still continued the same this morning, Two Indians came to the fort & staid a short time. it continued Raining during the whole of this day.

Joseph Whitehouse

Fort Clatsop

Video taken with permission at Lewis and Clark National Historic Park, Fort Clatsop.

in the center of each room a space of six by eight feet square is sunk about twelve inches lower than the floor having it's sides secured with four sticks of squar timber, in this space they make their fire

Meriwether Lewis

Clatsop plank house fire pit

Rectangular fire pit dug into the sand

Photo taken with permission at Fort Stevens State Park.

the ends sides and partitions are then formed with one range of wide boards of abut two inches thick, which are sunk in the ground a small distance at their lower ends and stand erect

Meriwether Lewis

Clatsop plank house

Small, weathered plank house

Photo taken with permission at Fort Stevens State Park.

the rough [roof] is then covered with a double range of thin boards, and an aperture of 2 by 3 feet left in the center of the roof to permit the smoke to pass

Meriwether Lewis

Cathlapotle Plankhouse

Large plank house roof with two holes for letting out smoke

Photo taken on March 30, 2009 at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

these houses are sometimes sunk to the debth of 4 or 5 feet in which cace the eve of the house comes nearly to the surface of the earth.

Meriwether Lewis

Cathlapotle Plankhouse

Roof of a plank house nearly reaching the ground

Photo taken on March 30, 2009 at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex.