Click here: Lewis and Clark Calendar_June-August 2023 to see the calendar of Lewis and Clark events throughout the nation through August.
Just a few of the 32 events during the next three months:
Just a few of the 32 events during the next three months:
The summer travel season is almost upon us. Now is the time to figure out where you’re going and what to see.
Some good advice: Explore parts or all of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail during your summer travels. The trail goes for 4,900 miles through 16 states from Pittsburgh, Pa., to the mouth of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest.
The trail is perfect for tourist outings for single travelers, companions and families. You’ll discover beautiful scenery; hiking trails to wander along; campsites if you prefer sleeping in the outdoors; educational, recreational and entertainment opportunities; and significant historical sites, statues, and museums about the 1803-06 expedition.
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark believed good planning would make for a successful journey. With their philosophy in mind, here are tips on how to prepare for your travels, as well as how to keep a travel journal that your family and your descendants will love to read.
Travel books about the Lewis and Clark Trail: Before you make final decisions on your travel plans, research parts of the trail that you may be interested in by reading books that tell not only about what the expedition did on this or that day but also what’s available today in those areas. All of the books mentioned below are available from online book companies and outlets like Amazon.
There are numerous quality books on the market that offer details about where the trail goes through certain states and the available Lewis and Clark sites, museums, and statues. Most of these books provide information about hotels, recreational opportunities and other amenities, including guiding companies if you’re interested in getting on the water in a canoe or traveling parts of the trail by tourist boat. These are good references if you already know your specific destination.
For example, if you know your destination is along the Snake or Columbia rivers in the Pacific Northwest, take a look at a spiral-bound book, Wind Hard from the West: The Lewis and Clark Expedition on the Snake and Columbia Rivers, by Robert Heacock and Kris Townsend.
The book by the two long-time members of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation includes the expedition’s daily activities and location descriptions; and maps and historic and modern photos. The book is extremely helpful if you want to locate Lewis and Clark sites along the two rivers and learn what happened at those sites.
And let’s say your travel destination is Lewis and Clark sites in Missouri. A good reference guide: Exploring Lewis & Clark’s Missouri by Brett Dufur. This book gives information on how to find specific Lewis and Clark locations but also extensive advice on local hiking trails, art galleries, museums, parks, and other places. The book is a wealth of information that even includes addresses and phone numbers of places along the trail through Missouri.
Because the trail is so long, it can be challenging to identify specific areas you want to visit if you intend to travel the entire trail. Here are some suggested books for taking a look at what’s offered along the entire trail:
Traveling the Lewis and Clark Trail by Julie Fanselow offers first-rate information about the best sites to visit and activities to do along the trail, as well as maps, itineraries, and advice on local lodging and dining. Julie also details specific Lewis and Clark events that happened along the trail.
Her top-notch book has remained a popular travel guide since it was originally published around the time of the 2003-06 Lewis and Clark National Bicentennial Celebration. Now in its fourth edition, the book is an essential pilot for a Lewis and Clark traveler.
Published in 2019, the book gives an in-depth look—in both text and photographs—at what you’ll find not only along the trail in the way of Lewis and Clark history but also historical places unrelated to Lewis and Clark that you would enjoy visiting. Jennifer even notes good cafes and restaurants, as well as nearby walking trails and other opportunities.
If you prefer human-powered wheels to motorized travel, there is a good book, Bicycling the Lewis & Clark Trail, by Michael McCoy. With maps, info about road surfaces and traffic, and other helpful information, it’s an indispensable handbook for bicyclists.
Meanwhile, if you feel more adventurous than merely driving the roads on or near the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, backpacking and camping are great alternatives—and they are good ways to get a taste of the outdoor life experienced by the explorers.
Tom is the author of a brilliant and insightful award-winning book, Five Months on the Missouri, about his 2,341-mile journey in a dugout canoe from Montana to St. Louis, Mo. The book offers a wonderful step back in time to the adventures of Lewis and Clark and what it’s like along the river today—it’s superb reading for any traveler by water or otherwise along the Missouri River. Click here to see information about Tom’s books.
The best reference sources, of course, are the Lewis and Clark journals themselves. Various edited versions of the journals have been published during the last two centuries. By far, the most outstanding and most accurate version is the set of The Definitive Journals of Lewis & Clark, edited by Gary E. Moulton, a Thomas C. Sorensen Professor Emeritus of American History at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
With the highest degree of accuracy, Dr. Moulton kept the journals true to what the explorers wrote. His work on the journals was one of the most important scholarly accomplishments of the 20th century.
Beneficial for your travels are Dr. Moulton’s footnotes that explain where the expedition was on a specific day in relation to today’s communities and landmarks. This information is a splendid key for helping you locate a Lewis and Clark site and comparing what you see there against what the explorers reported viewing and experiencing.
Dr. Moulton has also published The Lewis and Clark Expedition Day by Day, a single volume that translates the unique writing styles of the explorers into the modern grammar of today. It’s an easy-to-read book and a remarkable reference if you already know the location of a place where the explorers were on a specific date.
If you’re computer savvy and know the expedition dates associated with the locations of places that you intend to visit, check out the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Online. After you reach the website’s home page, type the date you’re looking for into the search bar at the top right of the page. You’ll find the explorers’ daily journal entries, as well as images, supplemental information, audio files, and Native American perspectives.
Visit Lewis and Clark travel websites: You would be wise to study online resources that offer details about the expedition and what you can expect to find today. There are two premier websites.
The Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation’s website offers an interactive travel section that gives a state-by-state look at where to find Lewis and Clark sites and other places of interest. The section also includes information about the top 25 Lewis and Clark sites.
Meanwhile, the National Park Service developed an excellent travel website during the last few years that will soon be turned over to the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation for management and continued development.
The website—lewisandclark.travel—provides extensive information about history along the Lewis and Clark trail, historic places, natural areas, Native American cultures and lands, arts, events, guides, tours, museums, interpretive centers, campgrounds, motels, bed-and-breakfast lodging, maps, and a wealth of more information. Make sure you check it out.
You’ll definitely want to go to two National Park Service helpful offerings as you plan your journey, whether you’re going to be on a short jaunt or the entire trail.
The NPS has a state-by-state guide where you’ll learn about Lewis and Clark connections in each state. Here’s the link to reach the guide. Click on the name of the state that you want more information about.
Meanwhile, when you’re on the home page for this state-by-state guide, scroll down until you see the U.S. map that shows the visitor centers and museums which have a connection to Lewis and Clark. Use your cursor (your cursor will become a little wavy hand as it hovers over the map) to enlarge the map so it’s easier see the location of a visitor center or museum. When you click on a location, a box will pop up that gives you the address of the museum or visitor center there, as well as a link to click on for more information.
The National Park Service also offers very useful travel apps for trail guides and national parks, a number of which are located along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. The apps can be downloaded through the App Store or Google Play. Just type “National Park Service” into one of those site’s search bar.
After your narrow down your upcoming journey, there are other important recommended steps:
Visit YouTube: Go to YouTube and see if videos exist about your destinations. The chances are excellent that some will. They will give you an idea about what places are like. Check out the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation’s YouTube channel; it has recordings by experts who discuss issues related to the expedition. If you’re a bicyclist, you’ll definitely want to watch a talk by Megan Boehmer who bicycled the trail in 2021.
Visit the world’s best online resource: It’s no exaggeration to say lewis-clark.org is the world’s best online resource about the expedition and its period in time. Also known as Discover Lewis & Clark, it is the educational website of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. The website can provide you with details about what the expedition did day by day, as well as easy-to-understand info about the geography, geology, American natives, plants wildlife, fish, reptiles, and even insects encountered by the explorers.
So, for example, if you’re headed to Great Falls, Montana, you can go to the website and find everything there is to know about the expedition’s time there, including how the explorers celebrated July 4, 1805, with music and dance and, oh, woe, they ran out of whiskey, which meant no more distributions of a gill of whisky to each expedition member after a hard day of traveling. A “gill,” by the way, was the common term back then for four ounces of liquid.
Get help from a local expert: The Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation offers a free Ambassador Program that can put you in touch with local experts who will help you learn about Lewis and Clark history and assist with finding local sites. An Ambassador will also have information about museums, places to eat, and other local opportunities.
The Ambassador Program is a good benefit for travelers interested in personal assistance in discovering local Lewis and Clark information. The program operates through local volunteers who are members of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. To learn more about the program, contact Sarah Cawley, the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation’s executive director: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most of us take photographs on vacations. Go a step beyond and keep a journal. The landscapes and places you travel through, and the people you meet, offer magnificent opportunities to write in a journal—or to draw if you feel like it.
Regardless of how you record your experiences in a journal, it’ll help put you in the mindset of the Lewis and Clark explorers. The two leaders and four other expedition members kept detailed journals, totaling about a million words. Journals cover the 1,118 days from the expedition’s departure from Pittsburgh, Pa., in the fall of 1803 to its return to St. Louis in late September 1806.
Lewis and Clark used a variety of notebooks, usually five- by eight-inch morocco-bound books—morocco is a type of goat skin used in bookbinding—that opened from the end. They also used notebooks bound in pasteboard with marbled covers, as well as two leather-bound books and one field book made up of loose sheets and bound in elk skin.
The explorers recorded their daily activities; extensive observations of plants, animals, weather, and terrain; and details about the lifestyles, customs, clothing, religions, political climate, and other valuable ethnographical information about the Native Americans they encountered in about 50 different tribes. The information became useful to pioneers and others who were part of our country’s westward expansion. Today, the journals are critically important in understanding our country’s history. Click here to learn more about the explorers as ethnologists.
The foremost advocate of travel journaling: Without a doubt, Wayne Wilson is the No. 1 advocate of keeping a travel journal. He spent most of his career in the museum and archives field, including as executive director of the Kelowna Museums in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. He is a Pacific Northwest historian and an artist extraordinaire.
Since high school, Wayne has always traveled with a sketchbook. His more formal travel journaling began in 2011 during a six-week canoe trip down the Columbia River system. He began filling journals by recounting the places, people, and events that made journeys so compelling. He keeps written travel journals complemented with his artwork of places encountered along a journey.
Wayne is passionate about encouraging people—particularly kids—to keep travel journals. He emphasizes: “Your memories will be richer and clearer. You’ll have more memories. You’ll nurture your creative spirit and your observation skills will sharpen, and your insights on people, places and events will become more thoughtful. As well, your travel journal will be a legacy of who you are as a person.”
That last part—leaving a legacy—is important. “I quickly learned in my museum and archives work that the people who will ever be remembered are those who wrote it down—and I want you to be remembered.
“So don’t be forgotten by your children and grandchildren or even in the longer history of your community. Set out to let your descendants know something more about you—where you traveled, who you met, what gave your life light and meaning, and where you were when you had that epiphany about some part of life.
“A travel journal is a legacy worth leaving.”
Wayne’s website—Travel Journal 100 – Proof of Life—offers a four-module course on travel journaling and solutions to challenges you might face—what you want, for example, in a kit that contains all of the journaling supplies you’ll need. The course offers motivational advice and is the ultimate guide to everything you need to know about travel journaling. There are also tips to help people overcome trepidation they may have about keeping a travel journal.
For an online workshop that he taught in March about travel journaling for members of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, Wayne put together a delightful, beautiful ebook—Lewis and Clark…A Special Guide to Travel Journal Prompts.”
Among other very useful advice, his ebook does just what the title promises: It gives excellent prompts about how to include sights, sounds, smells tastes, touch, and even your 6th sense, you know, the déjà vu that makes the hair stand up on your arms. All of these will enhance your travel journal.
Wayne’s ebook is available online for only $4.95. It’s well worth the small price. Click here to learn more and purchase the ebook.
Wayne also has a Facebook page where you’ll find more advice and have access to thoughts and ideas by other keepers of travel journals. Click here to go to the Facebook page.
Finally, remember: Research, read books, check websites and YouTube, contact the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation about the Ambassador Program, keep a travel journal…and have fun!
Author of this article: Gary Kimsey. Click here for info about him.
In total, 31 events related to the Lewis and Clark Expedition will be held in March, April and May 2023.
The events range from educational Zoom talks given by experts and meetings of a group that studies the expedition’s journals … to an exhibit focusing on the maps created by the explorers … and a fun festival to celebrate the expedition’s start up the Missouri River in May 1804 … a class to show kids how to bake the berry tart favored by William Clark … and an online class to help you start your own travel journal … and many more events … and all but a couple are free to you.
All in all, a lot of opportunities that offer you and your family the chance to learn about the most important expedition in our country’s history.
Click on the link below to see the calendar of Lewis and Clark events across the nation:
And here’s a quick visual look at three of the events:
‘Tis the time of year to prepare for 2023.
An excellent way to do this is by buying a 2023 calendar that features modern-day people, landscapes, and flora along the 4,900-mile Lewis and Clark Expedition National Historic Trail from Pittsburgh, Pa., to the mouth of the Columbia River on the Pacific Ocean coast of Oregon and Washington.
With your purchase, you’ll also be supporting the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation and displaying on your wall (or wherever you keep your calendar) a calendar with beautiful photographs taken by nine of the nonprofit organization’s members.
The members—all amateur photographers—took the photos for the organization’s annual photography contest. The photos were winners in one of six categories: historic sites, landscape, flora and fauna, people on the trail, public Lewis and Clark art, and overall winners.
The calendars are almost sold out, so order yours today at $20 a calendar. And remember that the calendar makes for a great Christmas gift. Click here: Order your Lewis and Clark calendar.
The following are looks at each photograph in the 2023 calendar. Click on a link that accompanies a photo and you’ll learn Lewis and Clark information that goes with the photo’s topic. The links will take you to lewis-clark.org (as known as “Discover Lewis & Clark”), the educational website of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. The website is the world’s large digital repository of information about Lewis and Clark and their times.
This photograph by John Montague shows Pompey’s Pillar in the background and, in the foreground, the bows of two dugout canoes, modern representations of the vessels used by some of the explorers to reach the pillar along the Yellowstone River in Montana. William Clark and nine men, as well as Sacagawea and Toussaint Charbonneau and their 17-month-old son, Jean Baptiste, arrived at the pillar on July 25, 1806. Clark described the pillar as a “remarkable rock” and named it “Pompy’s Tower” to honor little Jean Baptist, who during that summer had been nicknamed “Pomp.” In his journal, Clark wrote, “The natives have ingraved (sic) on the face of this rock the figures of animals &c near which I marked my name and the day of the month & year.” Learn more:
Named “Decision Point Encampment,” this photograph by Lee Ebeling represents the historic site where one of the most important questions faced by the explorers came up: Which river to take? In June 1805, the expedition, having journeyed up the Missouri River, reached the mouth of a large river that flowed into the Missouri. At this point, the explorers were unsure which river to continue up—the one that came from the south or the one from the north. Making the correct decision was of utmost importance; the explorers knew they needed to reach the Rocky Mountains without delay and find Natives to trade with to acquire horses to ride over the mountains. So for the next few days, they reconnoitered both rivers. They did, indeed, make the correct decision by continuing up the south fork, the Missouri River, rather than the other river, which Clark named Maria’s River after his cousin. Discover more:
Perhaps (and this is just speculation) one of the more happier moments for the explorers came on Nov. 7, 1805. On that day, William Clark wrote—with misspellings and all—in his journal: “Great joy in camp we are in View of the Ocian, this great Pacific Octean which we have been So long anxious to See…” Unfortunately, the jubilation was premature; the explorers were looking at the Columbia River estuary rather than the ocean, which was still at least 20 miles to the west. In this photograph named “View of the Ocian—O! the Joy,” photographer Laura Labadie excellently captured the coastal beauty that Lewis and Clark would have seen. More:
This photograph by Jared Norris gives a scenic view of the Astoria Column at Astoria, Oregon, a community founded in 1811 on the Columbia River shoreline tread upon by the Lewis and Clark explorers during their 1805-06 winter encampment at nearby Fort Clatsop. The area overlooks the mouth of the Columbia River and gives a magnificent view of the landscape the explorers would have seen as they hunted, explored, and visited with members of the Clatsop, Chinooks, and other tribes who lived in the region. More info:
Taken by Shannon Kelly, this photo shows a purple Dotted Gayfeather. One of President Thomas Jefferson’s instructions to Meriwether Lewis was to report on the flora and fauna seen during the journey. Even on the toughest of days when the expedition members were exhausted, Meriwether Lewis made efforts to observe and identify plants. At least 200 plants were preserved and taken back to civilization for accurate identification. Here are links to click on for more info:
Titled “Misty Sitka Spruce Forest,” this photo by John Jengo highlights one of the many diverse landscapes seen by the explorers. Sitka Spruce mainly occur along the northwest Pacific Coast, particularly in the area Fort Clatsop, the encampment built at the mouth of the Columbia River by the explorers for the 1805-06 winter. In his journal entry of March 10, 1806, Lewis noted a verbal report by hunters of the expedition who said they had seen a tree with a trunk 42 feet in “girth” (circumference) and that it was “very lofty.” He wrote: “…from the appearance of other trees of this species (sic) of fir and their account of this tree, I think it may be safely estimated at 300 feet. it had every appearance of being perfectly sound.” More information:
Taken by Phil Downs, this photograph of Citadel Rock is a landmark on the Missouri River in Montana. Upon passing by it on May 31, 1805, William Clark wrote in his journal about this “high Steep black Rock riseing (sic) from the waters edge.” The landmark, which did not receive a name until the steamboat era decades after Lewis and Clark, is an igneous intrusion in a sandstone layer that had been washed away by the river. It was near here that the explorers almost lost a pirogue. Take a moment and find out more:
“Upper Portage Camp” is a photograph taken by Lee Ebeling. The iron structure in the photo—it sort of looks like the back and rib skeleton of a while (but it’s not)—is a replica of what the expedition’s iron boat may have looked like. The boat was an idea that Meriwether Lewis (or it may have been Thomas Jefferson’s idea) had back in civilization about being able to assemble a large canoe when the time was needed. So the iron parts were made and taken along on the expedition. The boat was assembled in May 1805 after the explorers made a lengthy portage around the Great Falls of the Missouri River. Good idea, but no go—the boat failed. Lee’s photo shows the replica at a site near the Upper Portage Camp outside of Great Falls, Montana. The site features not only the replica but also historical information displays placed there by the Portage Route Chapter of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. Learn more:
Entitled “Sunshine and Snow Flakes for Seaman, this photo by Shannon Kelly features a statue of the dog of Meriwether Lewis that was a beloved and valuable expedition membership. Located at the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site (For Mandan) in North Dakota, the statue is believed to be the world’s largest statue of Seaman. Shannon wrote an article about the statue for this LewisandClarkNew.com blog. The article tells all about the statue. Learn more:
Tony Huhn captured how Lewis and Clark must have felt on their arrival in St. Louis on Sept. 23, 1806. Crammed into five canoes and one of the two original pirogues, the explorers would surly have waved—as shown in Tony’s photograph—at St. Louis residents waiting on the riverbank to greet them. The site and statue are at the riverside Gateway Arch. The statute, sculpted by Harry Weber, was placed there to mark the end of the 2003-06 national bicentennial celebration of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. To learn more, click on these links:
This photograph by Phil Scriver tells a story of great hope and great disappointment. If the hope of Meriwether Lewis had played out, the United States may have acquired more land through the Louisiana Purchase. On the way back to St. Louis, Lewis and three other men explored up the Maria’s River in northern Montana in hope of finding that the river’s source was north of the treaty boundary of the Louisiana Purchase. If it did, the U.S. would be eligible for more land—land within the Canadian boundary of British territory. Lewis and his tiny entourage spent several days at a camp in July 1806 so Lewis could make celestial observations to determine their location. Their food supply was down to roots, a few pigeons and buffalo grease mush. The weather was cloudy and rainy—bad for celestial observations. Lewis’ chronometer, needed for observations, stopped working for some unknown reason. Finally, Lewis estimated the extension of the treaty boundary was a no go. Much to his chagrin, as he wrote in his journal, “We set out biding a lasting adieu to this place which I now call camp disappointment.” Check out these links to learn more:
Look closely at this photograph by Shannon Kelly and you will see the hole at the top of what looks to be a rock wall on the right half of the photo. Known as the “Hole in the Wall,” the site is within the Montana area of the Missouri River known as the White Cliffs. Meriwether Lewis was immensely impressed by the sandstone formations that dominated the shores. He wrote: “…so perfect indeed are those walls that I should have thought that nature had attempted her to rival the human art of masonry had I not recollected that she had first began her work.” More info:
The Midwest takes its mammoth roadside attractions seriously, and North Dakota is no exception. The Peace Garden State boasts supersized sculptures such as the world’s largest Holstein cow, sandhill crane and buffalo—and those are just the ones along Interstate 94.
Little did I know when I first started working as a ranger at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn, N.D., that another delightful giant (who I once had the honor of playing in my fourth-grade class’s Lewis and Clark musical) would lurk nearby.
The bronze Dog of Discovery was installed in 2006 along the Missouri River near the Fort Mandan replica and visitor center. He obediently sits greeting visitors and looks as if he might be awaiting a juicy bison treat from Capt. Lewis himself.
Lewis never documented where or when he bought Seaman—many theorize he purchased the pooch in Pittsburgh during the summer of 1803 while equipping the expedition—but he does mention paying $20 of his own money for the dog.
Seaman earned his keep as a hunter, retriever, sentry, and lifeguard.
The dog proved his worth at the journey’s very beginning. Less than two weeks after leaving Pittsburgh, Pa., and heading by boat down the Ohio River, Lewis spotted on a couple of days a migration of squirrels swimming across the river. He sent Seaman swimming after them. The dog killed squirrels and swam with them in his mouth back to Lewis. In his usual unique spelling style, Lewis penned in his journal, “They wer fat and I thought when fryed a pleasant food.”
Seaman was certainly an alert sentry. On the evening of June 19, 1805, after the expedition made camp in the area of today’s Great Falls, Mont., the dog’s barking may have scared off a buffalo that seemed ready to charge willy-nilly through the camp.
The greatest danger in that area, however, came from grizzly bears. They were everywhere, always a threat, lurking about day and particularly at night, probably attracted to the explorers’ campsites from the smell of cooking food. “…my dog,” stated Lewis’ journal entry of June 27, 1805, “seems to be in a constant state of alarm with these bear and keeps barking all night.” Seaman’s good use of his vocal cords probably helped the explorers avoid many bear encounters in the darkness of night.
Expedition members came to refer to Seaman as “our dog.” It’s likely there was great concern on April 11, 1806, on the Columbia River not far from what today is Portland, Ore., when Indians stole Seaman—most likely for the dog to become their meal.
In his journal, Lewis recorded his reaction: “…sent three men in pursuit of the thieves with orders if they made the least resistance or difficulty in surrendering the dog to fire on them.” After a 2-mile chase, the three men saw the canine kidnappers, who, upon spotting their pursuers, abandoned the dog alive and fled.
Seaman will probably forever be represented as a modern-day black, chunky Newfoundland, but the breed in his era was almost universally black and white after what is known today as the Landseer Newfoundland after English painter Edwin Landseer. (Landseer famously captured the breed’s distinctive coat pattern on canvas during the 1800s.)
Contemporaneous artwork and descriptions of the breed also indicate a sportier build than today’s Newfoundlands. No records remain of Seaman’s appearance beyond his impressive size.
Lewis held his furry friend in such high regard that in July 1806, on the expedition’s return trip to St. Louis, he named a creek in present-day Montana “Seaman’s Creek.”
Interestingly, a Masonic museum in Virginia at one time apparently housed a dog collar that may have been donated by William Clark in 1812, although the original is now lost. The inscription on the collar stated: “The greatest traveler of my species. My name is SEAMAN, the dog of captain Meriwether Lewis, whom I accompanied to the Pacifick [sic)] ocean through the interior of the continent of North America.”
Besides the fact that this tail-wagging trailblazer was large, what does any of this have to do with giant roadside attractions?
Recently it occurred to me that Fort Mandan State Historic Site just might have the world’s biggest Newfoundland dog. I reviewed my own photographs and scoured the internet for Newfoundlands in public art.
Seaman is the most oft-sculpted member of his breed and certainly the greatest traveler of his species. St. John’s in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador only has a life-sized Newfoundland statue. Then there’s the salmon-eating incarnation of Seaman (part of the “End of the Trail” statue) I encountered during a 2002 family spring break trip to Seaside, Oregon. But that was no competition either.
The closest in stature to the State Historical Society’s Seaman I could find is the one included on artist Pat Kennedy’s Lewis and Clark monument, which has duplicate casts at the Sioux City Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Iowa and at the Lewis & Clark Boathouse and Museum in St. Charles, Mo. I contacted staff at both sites and requested measurements of their statues. That Seaman is approximately 6 feet, 3/16 inch tall, with a head circumference of 7 feet.
Armed with this knowledge, I measured our own pup with a measuring tape and a stepstool to determine dimensions. Our dog nosed ahead with a height of 7 feet and a head circumference of nearly 8 feet.
I contacted the Newfoundland Club of America, which had been involved with the statue’s 2006 installation and reinstallation following a 2011 flood. The representative who responded was delighted. Our Seaman is now on the map in the Newfoundland world.
So, when you’re looking to go on an adventurous expedition, come see what all the fuss is about, and snap a selfie with the great Dog of Discovery himself. Woof! Woof!
Seaman, three inches tall at the shoulders.
That’s what you’ll find in statuary along the Columbia River in Washington. It’s likely the smallest of Seaman representations.
The statuary of Seaman, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Sacajawea is at the Dismal Nitch Safety Rest Area on Highway 401 (also known as the Lewis and Clark Trail Highway) near Point Ellice close to the mouth of the Columbia River in Washington. The rest area is the home of the high-relief bronze sculpture artwork and monument by sculptor Gareth Curtis and mason Bill Clearman.
In the above photograph by Jim Sayce, Seaman seems to be having a good ol’ time studying what one of the explorers is pointing at—others of the expedition trying to canoe through huge swells.
The artwork reflects the dire situation the explorers faced during a bad storm and high waves near the mouth of the Columbia River. They were stranded there on the shore Nov. 12, 1805. During low tide, they moved into a cove that became known as the “Dismal Nitch”—and dismal the area was.
The following is William Clark’s journal entry for that time, shown here with the captain’s unique spellings intact:
“It would be distressing to See our Situation, all wet and Colde our bedding also wet, (and the robes of the party which Compose half the bedding is rotten and we are not in a Situation to supply their places) in a wet bottom Scercely large enough to contain us, our baggage half a mile from us and Canoes at the mercy of the waves, altho Secured as well as possible, Sunk with emence parcels of Stone to wate them down to prevent their dashing to pieces against the rocks.”
Here are informative articles about Seaman published in We Proceeded On, the quarterly journal of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation:
The author of this article, Shannon Kelly, is the interpretive resource specialist at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and Fort Mandan State Historic Site in Washburn, N.D.. She holds a bachelor’s in history from the University of Idaho and a master’s in public history from Colorado State University. Kelly has written a history of the Sound of Idaho Marching Band for the University of Idaho and is a contributor to the Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation’s journal We Proceeded On. She is currently at work on a book exploring the three winters of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Much of this article was originally published May 9, 2022, in the State Historical Society of North Dakota blog.
A thank you goes to Jim Sayce for providing the photograph and information about the smallest Seaman and Dismal Nitch. Jim is the incoming president of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation.
The Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation recently launched a YouTube channel where viewers can learn the Corps of Discovery’s story directly from historians and other experts.
So far, four videos have been published on the channel—more will be posted in the near future. Each video is more than an hour in length and covers different topics in-depth. The speakers are experts on the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail, the explorers and related topics.
Sarah Cawley, the Heritage Foundation’s executive director, said viewers of the videos will learn about the speakers’ personal insights, reflections and extensive knowledge about the expedition and explorers that may not be available in books or elsewhere.
“The speakers have a true passion for telling the story of the expedition,” she said. “Their information is intriguing, accurate, sometimes humorous or touching, but always sincere and educational.”
Videos were recorded from live presentations or virtual Zoom talks.
During the Covid pandemic when live meetings were not possible, three of the Heritage Foundation’s chapters used Zoom to present speakers as a way to keep members and others informed and enthused about the expedition. The chapters were the Portage Route Chapter in Great Falls, Montana; Missouri-Kansas Riverbend Chapter, Kansas City, Mo; and the California Chapter.
Here are synopses of the four videos:
The YouTube channel is part of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation’s mission and vision to preserve, promote and teach the diverse heritage the story of the 1803-06 Lewis and Clark Expedition for all people
You can view the four videos above by clicking on the links at the end of the descriptions. To view videos posted in the future and whenever you want to, you can go to YouTube.com. Once there, type in Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation in the Search bar.
The page that then comes up will show a variety of videos related to the expedition
Locate the Lewis and Clark icon that has the title of “Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation” next to it. (Note: when you see the icon, you will have the option to “Subscribe” to be notified when the Heritage Foundation posts a new video.)
Click on the icon or the title, and you will be taken to the page where the Heritage Foundation’s videos are located. Click on the video you want to watch.
There are three ways to be notified when a new video is published.