Affordable holiday event for families on Dec. 10: Christmas at Fort Steilacoom in Lakewood

Join us at Fort Steilacoom Museum in Lakewood from 4 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10,  2022, as living historians re-enact the Christmas of 1857 as the holiday season might have been celebrated in these buildings 165 years ago.

Re-enactors will gather in candlelight to talk, sing, dance and dine as our predecessors did in the first U.S. military post in Puget Sound. Visitors from 2022 will walk past and witness scenes as if the visitors are spirits from the future. 

The year 1857 is remembered as a time of turbulence in Washington Territory and part of the lead-up to the U.S. Civil War. Many Fort Steilacoom soldiers would go on to serve in that war. However, Christmas at Fort Steilacoom in 1857 was a period of celebration and enjoyment as men, women and children hosted and participated in social gatherings, exchanged gifts and communed with others.

Tickets are $7 for an adult and $5 for youth. A family of up to two adults and four youth pays $12. Because this event is a fundraiser to support maintenance of the aging buildings, discounts are not offered. 

The last tour group will leave at 6:30 p.m. Because of space limitations, tickets should be purchased in advance through Eventbrite.  Tickets may be purchased at the door, but availability is not guaranteed. This event will almost certainly sell out. You can check the Fort’s Facebook page to learn if the event is sold out. 


Fort Steilacoom, the first U.S. Army post to be located in Puget Sound, is on the grounds of Western State Hospital at 9601 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood, 98498. Be sure to use that street address to find the fort. 

Please allow extra time to find the fort. GPS and map software often direct people to Fort Steilacoom Park, but that is not where the park is located. The fort is across the street. To reach the historic Fort, be sure to type in the street address, turn right after entering Western State, and then look for the cannon shelter and lights. 

About Fort Steilacoom

Historic Fort Steilacoom Association is a non-profit organization managed entirely by volunteers. There are no paid staff. No tax dollars support routine maintenance. Members of the association support the fort through donations and receive a newsletter three times a year about Pacific Northwest history. Marketing outreach is supported by a grant from the City of Lakewood’s lodging tax fund.

Fort Steilacoom occupies an important position in the U.S. settlement of Washington Territory. Beginning with its opening in 1849 and ending with its closure in 1868, Fort Steilacoom served as a beacon of American power and promise, promoting the migration of U.S. settlers to Washington and securing American interests in the region. The buildings went on to become the first incarnation of Western State Hospital.

The Fort acknowledges the complex history of the Fort and its role in the colonization of the area. The fort community is actively working to incorporate the diverse perspectives and experiences of all individuals and communities who interacted with the Fort.

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