First Advisor

David A. Johnson

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






United States. National Park Service, Historic sites -- Conservation and restoration -- Oregon -- Clatsop County -- History, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park (Or. and Wash.)



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, iii, 153 p.)


Fort Clatsop National Memorial is a unit of the National Park Service in Clatsop County, Oregon. The memorial was established by an Act of Congress in 1958 to commemorate the culmination and 1805-1806 winter encampment of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The memorial centers around a replicated fort structure. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the process of preserving historic sites under the National Park Service (NPS) by examining the history of Fort Clatsop National Memorial. Through this examination it is possible to understand the realities of the national preservation system and the ideals fostered by those involved in the system. The Fort Clatsop site became the subject of folk history in Clatsop County, which culminated in a community movement for national recognition. During the community sponsored l 50th anniversary celebration of the Expedition, local civic groups built the existing fort replica. The management needs of the replica caused the site owner, the Oregon Historical Society (OHS), to actively pursue national recognition. To achieve the creation of a national memorial, OHS and community members enlisted the help of Senator Richard L. Neuberger. Senator Neuberger drafted and successfully sponsored legislation for the creation of the memorial. Since the memorial's creation in '1958, the site has been under the management of the National Park Service (NPS). As a historical, commemorative unit, the NPS is responsible under the 193 5 Historic Sites Act for presenting the history of the Expedition to the public. Such historic interpretation includes the use of costumed demonstrations, exhibits, and other interpretive media. Fort Clatsop also represents the ideals of education and inspiration in NPS interpretive policies. In conclusion, the examination of Fort Clatsop illustrates factors involved in the creation of historic sites within the NPS and how private individuals and Congress affect the selection of historic sites for preservation. While illustrating how the private sector and Congress can decide what historic sites are preserved under the park system, this examination also illustrates how the park system handles those sites placed under its management and how NPS management helps shape public memory.


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