June 26

Fort Clark walking trail

Sunset at the historic Fort Clark site near Washburn can give only a hint of what it must have looked like 200 years ago when Lewis and Clark passed through this region and where the Mandan Indians called home.

Today, it’s an historic site with reportedly great archeological importance.   Nearby wind turbines in Oliver County overlook the site. Many earth lodge foundations are visible on the walking trail, all marked with story boards to help tell visitors the history of this notch in the Missouri River breaks.

This site goes back to 1822 when members of the Mandan Indian Tribe built earth lodges to create a village overlooking the Missouri River. A few years later, the American Fur Company made contact with the people of the village.  Later, painter/illustrator/historian Karl Bodmer and George Catlin visited the village.  Teh fur trading fort was named for William Clark who with Meriwether Lewis traveled through the area about 25 years earlier.

The village was wiped out when a steamboat with passengers and goods infected with small pox passed the disease on to the villagers.

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