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Posted on: May 21, 2019

Experience the history of the fur trade years at Riverside State Park

Two-day event includes tours, demonstrations, history and live music

OLYMPIA – May 21, 2019 – The Friends of Spokane House (FOSH) and Riverside State Park rangers will present a weekend of local fur trade history from the years 1810 through 1826 at the 2019 Fur Trade Symposium and Encampment in Riverside State Park.

The free event takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, June 8, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, June 9, at Riverside State Park’s Spokane House Interpretive Center, 13501 N. Nine Mile Rd, Nine Mile Falls. (Driving directions.)  Saturday and Sunday are “free days” at the park in recognition of National Get Outdoors Day (June 8) and Free Fishing Day (June 9). A Discover Pass will not be required for motor vehicle entrance to the event.

On Saturday afternoon, guests can attend a symposium about the Spokane House. Topics and schedules are as follows:

  • 1 p.m. — Spokane Tribal History
  • 2 p.m. — Fur Trade Fiddle Music
  • 3 p.m. — Fur Trade Impacts on the Pacific Northwest
  • 4 p.m. —  Piece-on-piece Log Construction Demonstration (with era tools)

Guests may visit the Spokane House Interpretive Center and then talk with re-enactors portraying traders, voyageurs, trappers and Native American “Daughters of the Country” at their campsites where they may view trade items, guns, tools, furs and equipment. The re-enactors will wear authentic leather and hand-stitched clothing. Demonstrations will feature flint and steel fire­starting and flintlock shooting.

Park staff also will offer guided walks of the Spokane House grounds at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 9.

About the Spokane House
The original Spokane House trading post, located within Riverside State Park, was built in 1810 by Jaco Finlay at the request of David Thompson, a fur trader with the Northwest Company. The present site of the Spokane House Interpretive Center is near the original sites of two trading posts. This land between the Spokane and Little Spokane rivers was also a Spokane Tribe village and a gathering site for area tribes during the fish runs. Besides working with Spokane, Kootenai, Pend Oreille, Flathead and Coeur d'Alene tribes, fur trade companies also employed many displaced Iroquois Indians who were French speakers from their alliance with the French during the French and Indian Wars. The Iroquois introduced the French place names in the region.

Later, when Thompson's Kullyspell House on Lake Pend Oreille was abandoned, Spokane House took on major importance as a fur trading center. During the early1800s, there was bitter competition between the Northwest Company, the Hudson's Bay Company belonging to the British and the American John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company based in what is now Astoria, Oregon.

News media contacts:
Paul Neddo, Park Ranger, (509) 979-6595
Toni Droscher, Communications Office, (360) 902-8604
Mark Carter, Friends of Spokane House


About Washington State Parks

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.

 News release number: 19-030

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