Enjoy two opportunities to learn online in October about the statewide significance of Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood.
Both free educational events are presented by the Historic Fort Steilacoom Association (HFSA), an all-volunteer group that preserves the first U.S. Army post in Puget Sound.
1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15: Join the HFSA for its online annual meeting, when Pretty Gritty Tour’s Chris Staudinger will talk about the statewide significance of Fort Steilacoom Park.
Sign up here through Zoom. Registration is required.
You can get more details about the event here.
8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25: Pretty Gritty will host one of their famous livestreams where you will have a chance to see inside Fort Steilacoom, the fort that gives its name to the park. The fort, located in the ‘front yard’ of Western State Hospital, will commemorate the 175th anniversary of its founding next year. More info at https://www.facebook.com/events/154715824373494.
If you’d like to sign up to be reminded of the livestream, here’s the YouTube link.
In Lakewood, visitors can walk through and tour four buildings that witnessed key events in the early U.S. settlement of Washington Territory. Soldiers from the fort went on to serve in the U.S. Civil War. Here in Washington, you can walk on the same floors that future Civil War generals walked on before their service in that conflict.
Fort Steilacoom is the first U.S. Army fort in Puget Sound. There are active discussions going on about its future. You can read a guest column in The News Tribune about the subject of the fort’s ownership, as well as an analysis by historian and reporter Feliks Banel of KIRO radio.
The three cottages and interpretive center that remain from the original complex will be open for tours from 1 to 4 p.m. on first Sundays of the month. You can book a tour at the fort’s Eventbrite site.
Families pay $10. Fort Steilacoom is a Blue Star Museum year-round https://www.arts.gov/initiatives/blue-star-museums, so active duty military and their immediate families are welcome to drop in without reservations and tour the buildings for free. The last tour is at 3, but earlier arrival is suggested to allow more time to experience the buildings.
Historic Fort Steilacoom exists on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the Nisqually, Puyallup and Steilacoom Tribes, whose ancestors have stewarded this land throughout the generations. Our association acknowledges the complex history of the Fort and its role in the colonization of the area. The fort’s board is actively working to incorporate the diverse perspectives and experiences of all individuals and communities who interacted with the Fort.