In the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark
From Illinois to the Pacific
June 19 - July 6, 2016

Day 0, Research and Development

Notes from your historian, Tom Laidlaw

Saturday June 18, 2016
Below is Mary Ellen Ergle, who will be my shadow for the trip. As a shadow, her job this trip is to learn the logistics of the trip. She has a rich background in L&C interprettion and will add her knowledge to the trip in various areas that I don't cover. On a later trip she will provide her own complete program as On-Board Historian.

Later in the day I picked up our Group Leader, Roger Dammarell.

Friday June 17, 2016
Got into town about 3, rented a car and picked up some equipment for the trip.
I will meet my shadow tomorrow at 10 at Camp  Dubois.

Sunday June 12, 2016- I'm getting excited for the upcoming tour. We will have several new and great talks. Dr. Gary Moulton, editor of the "Definitive Journals of Lewis and Clark", will be with us one night, and another night we will hear from Dr. Tom Rust, who believes he has found Clark's Yellowstone Camp.

Each year I come to St. Charles & St. Louis a little early to see the changes in the Lewis and Clark interpretive infrastructure. Since I began in 2001 two different replicas of Camp River Dubois have been built, one large interpretive center, two confluence parks, and a tall viewing tower. It is fun to speculate on the beginning of the Lewis and Clark Trail. Many places are beginnings of sorts, but Lewis himself told us:

from the L&C Interpretive Center at Hartford, IL

This tower at Hartford, IL lets us view the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers

This is where Lewis and Clark started their journey on May 14, 1804. The tower was planned to be ready for the bicentennial but money ran out. The town and many volunteers kept on going, however, and it was finally opened for business on May 14, 2010. A very satisfying view after a long wait. Our guide was Charlie Enright. Last year he and Hartford's mayor, Jim Span, gave me a special tour in the pouring rain. Needless to say, ths year was much better.

One of the problems of modern interpretation of river sites is that rivers are constantly changing. Here's a  comparison of the historic and modern confluences. We can no longer find the exact sites so the  best we can do is to build our interpretation nearby. 



 Here we have two replicas of that first camp. On the left is a community built camp at Wood River, about 4 miles north of the state built replica on the right. This one has roofs slanted to the inside, while the other has them slanted to the outside. The general layout of the replicas follows a sketch by William Clark. But it is only a plan view, so there is no documentation about the slant of the roofs.

14 year of age has shown itself on the state's replica fort. One of the bastion walls has fallen down.


Camp Dubois Interpretive Site, Hartford, IL

Inside the Camp Dubois Interpretive Center is a great mockup of the keelboat.

With a cutaway side showing the possible packing of the boat.