NEWS FROM THE FRONT
NEWS FROM THE FRONT
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.
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.
For more information, visit http://www.historicfortsteilacoom.org.
Fort Steilacoom Museum in Lakewood will host a talk 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, about the three wives of the man who supervised construction of the first official U.S. Army fort in Puget Sound.. Four of these buildings still stand in Lakewood, some of the oldest surviving structures in Washington.
Portland-based public historian Nicole Kindle will speak on the title of a paper she prepared for Portland State University, “The Many Wives of General August V. Kautz: Colonization in the Pacific Northwest, 1853-1895.”
The talk will include information about the challenges of researching and writing the history of women who left few, if any, written records. Kautz met his first wife, Kitty, a member of the Nisqually Tribe, when he was serving in what is now Lakewood. The tribe today includes many dozen members who are descended from Augustus and Kitty.
In 1865, Kautz married Charlotte Tod, who died three years later of typhoid fever. He married Fannie Markbreit from 1872 until his death in 1895.
Kautz was a lieutenant when he supervised the construction of the fort, the first official U.S. presence in Puget Sound, in 1857 and 1858. Four of those buildings survive today and form the museum in Lakewood located near the entrance to Western State Hospital and across the street from the city park that bears Fort Steilacoom’s name.
Kindle first learned about Kautz when she was a graduate student with the PSU history department and working as a research assistant on a joint project through PSU and the National Park Service at Fort Vancouver, which had close ties to Fort Steilacoom to the north. She graduated with a Master’s in history in 2019. She is currently an administrator at PSU.
To register to hear the talk online on Zoom, or to receive a recording of the talk, please sign up here https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcocO6prTktG9cog6VAxobvxSNmUQClyn9T
Historic Fort Steilacoom acknowledges the complex history of the Fort and its role in the colonization of the area. We are actively working to incorporate the diverse perspectives and experiences of all individuals and communities who interacted with the Fort
Historic Fort Steilacoom
9601 Steilacoom Blvd SW
Lakewood WA 98498
For email or mailing address: Contact Us