Receive Date: October 19, 2016
Publish date: November 4, 2016
First, though, I want to thank my fellow travelers who stumbled over the uneven grass and walkways, particularly those with walkers and a cane. And a special thank you to Margaret who I assured would be fine using her walker and not her scooter, and who graciously managed nonetheless. When I questioned the tour representative in arranging for the 8:45pm guided tour tickets (thank you, Dave!), I understood that there would be minimal walking between buildings. As a result, we did not anticipate the difficulty of navigating in the dark, mostly looking into the buildings. (Lesson Learned: Ask Better Questions Next
In spite of that, it was an amazing tour. I kept wishing it had been held in daylight so we could see the fort itself. However, it wouldn’t be a “candlelight tour” if the sun was out. I plan to explore what other “living history” events are scheduled for Fort Nisqually.
The following quote from the web site does a good job of describing what we encountered:
“Guests may eavesdrop as more than a hundred reenactors bring to life the men and women of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The people from the past won’t be aware of their 21 st century visitors. (They weren’t). This year, guest will arrive during October of 1859. The Fort’s residents will be talking about the impending departure of the Fort’s manager, Dr. Tolmie, and discussing the confrontation of American and British forces at the San Juan Islands during the “Pig War.
“Throughout the Fort, visitors will encounter gentlemen managers and their wives, American settler families, experienced trappers, Scottish and French-Canadian laborers and their families, young people at a dance blacksmiths working at the forge, clerks in the sale shop, and cooks in the kitchen.
“Located in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Part, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is a restoration of the Hudson’s Bay Company outpost on Puget Sound. Guests experience life in Washington Territory during the 1850s. Nine buildings are open to the public including the Granary and the Factors House, both National Historic Landmarks, and a Visitor Center with Museum Store.
Source: Metro Parks Tacoma
The diversity of the period dress was really interesting. All I could think about was what it must have taken to wash and dry some of the men’s attire. The locations ranged from trappers drinking coffee (?) around an open fire in front of a rough open tent to uniformed officers at a formal dining table with fine china.
The final stop was in a tent with a docent who answered questions. She said that one of the buildings (I couldn’t hear which) was the oldest still-standing structure in Washington State.
The tour volunteers did a wonderful job of lighting our paths around the fort with bright, but directional flashlights. And we all made it back to the bus in one piece. The only part we missed was the coffee and donut food truck at the beginning of the tour. Darn it.