For the Lewis and Clark Salt Makers setting up the Cove, this weekend they are going to party like it’s winter 1805.
About a half-dozen members of the living historians will be recreating this historical event Saturday and Sunday during the Lewis and Clark Salt Makers program, put on by the Seaside Museum and Historical Society. On the beach off Avenue U in Seaside, the program takes place close to the actual historical site where the Corps of Discovery encamped making salt more than 200 years ago.
“In the corps I was a hunter, a miller by trade,” Travis Fedje said in the role of Private John Potts. “I’m a fairly good trader, competent as a boatman — I ran the rapids at the Cascades. I can get by.”
Others on the beach setting up last Friday included members of the Corps of Discovery William Bratton, Joseph Whitehouse, John Collins and Robert Frazier, played, respectively by Lyle Gleason, Sid Stoffels, John Orthmann and DeWayne Pritchett.
“We have to rebuild the salt cairn every year,” Fedje said. The city is gracious enough to provide some heavy equipment. to do that.”
Building the cairn means digging a pit, restacking the rocks and flattening the area “as we can. we also have to build the shelter, which is always interesting. They said build a comfortable structure but didn’t give us any more explanation other that that.”
The historians were propping up a shelter as we spoke, with a squarish shape more of a “wigwam than a teepee,” Fedje said.
The historians travel with a crew of seven, plus two interpreters guiding visitors.
Members come from all over the United States, Fedje said. “I happen to come from Utah. these guys are from Washington. The lady right there is from Oregon.”
Clouds hung over the scene on the beach near U Street early Friday afternoon — perfect Lewis and Clark weather.
“They spent a little over three months here, closer to five, probably, it didn’t rain 12 days and they saw the sun six days,” Fedje said. “This would be perfect if it would stay this way.”