Indian Fort

Possible Site of an Indian Fort

View upstream, west

large blue river with low banks filled with cottonwood trees

© 1999 by VIAs, Inc.

On July 17, 1806 Clark wrote:

I Saw in one of those Small bottoms which I passed this evening an Indian fort which appears to have been built last Summer. This fort was built of logs and bark. The logs was put up very Closely, capping on each other about 5 feet high, and Closely chinked, around which bark was Set up on end so as to Cover the Logs. The enterance was also guarded by a work on each Side of it and faceing the river. This work is about 50 feet Diameter & nearly round. The Squaw informs me that when the war parties [NB: of Minnit[ares]s Crows &, who fight Shoshonees] find themselves pursued they make those forts to defend themselves in from the pursuers whose Superior numbers might other wise over power them and cut them off without receiveing much injurey on hors back &c.

The site is believed to have been opposite today's Reed Point, a small community that began as a market terminal for dryland farmers on the Northern Pacific Railway about 1900, and faded almost to oblivion during the drought of the late 'teens. The array of large Cottonwood trees in the above photograph evidently wasn't there in 1806, for Clark had to walk downriver another 35 to 40 miles before finding any large enough to provide serviceable dugout canoes.