Fort Nisqually was an important fur trading and farming post of the Hudson's Bay Company in the Puget Sound area of what is now Dupont, Washington and was part of the Hudson's Bay Company's Columbia Department. Today it is a living history museum located in Tacoma, Washington, USA, within the boundaries of Point Defiance Park. The Fort Nisqually Granary, moved along with the Factor's House from the original site of the second fort to this park, is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.
19th century history
The Hudson's Bay Company expanded to the west coast by forming the Columbia District to oversee its operations in what was known by American interests as the Oregon Country. Forts would be built in the District at central fur gathering locations, accessible to a large number of tribes. In 1824, Fort Vancouver was built a few miles from the Columbia River to the south and Fort Langley was built in 1827 on the Fraser River to the North. The Cowlitz Portage, an overland and shortcut route was soon created establishing a vital link between the two forts. After the attack and murder of Alexander Mackenzie and four men in his party on this route, it was determined a fort located at a half way point was needed for safety and security reasons.
The new midway location was at Nisqually, chosen for its excellent ship anchorage, its convenience for overland travel, the friendliness of local tribes and its prairies for grazing animals and growing crops. The first building was a storehouse of fifteen by twenty feet built on the beach next to the Sequalitchew Indian Village. Nisqually House as it was known was built in April 1832, and had three men with a few supplies left behind to manage it. One year later in May 1833, Chief Trader Archibald MacDonald returned with Dr. William Fraser Tolmie and seven men to begin the construction of a permanent fort.
Fort Nisqually today
Today, the restored Fort Nisqually is a living history museum run by employees and volunteers. Two of the original buildings, the Factor's House, and the Granary remain. In addition, there is a trade store, working blacksmith shop, laborers dwelling house, demonstration kitchen, and kitchen garden. Fort Nisqually has seen recent changes designed to capture its original character. These changes include, most significantly, the restoration of the Factor's House, and the relocation and restoration of the two 1930s era bastions. In addition a section of the palisades wall is designed to replicate the 1847 era wall.