Monday, January 20, 2014

Exploring Tacoma: Fort Nisqually

Tacoma, one of Washington's large cities, is located a bit southwest of Seattle. According to Ian and some of his pals it's not a "destination" spot. But with further examination I found a big park situated next to the Puget Sound with a living history museum situated inside it.

Fort Nisqually living history museum is meant to represent the first settlers of this land. From the site's website:
Fort Nisqually was the first European settlement on Puget Sound. Established in 1833 by the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), the original site was on the beach and plains above the Nisqually River delta in the present town of DuPont, Washington.
So actually the living history museum's structures were moved up to Tacoma at some point. If you know by now I enjoy going to Living History sites, as seen in last spring's visit to one in Carnation. In these places the people working there are skilled in the crafts from long ago and sometimes will talk to you like they come from that time period. I found at this site that not everyone took part in the old tongue.

Still the smell of wood burning from the blacksmith's house and the site of hand hewn architecture was fun.

I talked to the blacksmith who mostly liked to chat about the iron puzzles he makes. He gave me one, which I solved quickly and then another, which didn't take too long either.

What's this? The oldest wooden structure in Washington State?

There was a little exhibit room showing features of sewing back in those days. Apparently collecting a device that clamped down one's cloth while sewing is a popular item.

The main house, featured stylish accruements of the time and interesting wallpaper.

It was here that I talked to one of the guides and ended up hearing some of the history of Fort Nisqually and this area of Washington. As we all know the Native Americans of this state lived here first, but maybe what you didn't know was that the first settlers were British, Scottish and French-Canadian. Then the Americans started moving west and well the rest is history, I guess. Except for that part when later they took Native American children away from their families and into boarding schools.

I also learned that when the Americans first came out they didn't have much money with them and the kind shopkeepers let them buy everything on credit. What happened was that they cut down the trees and made roofing shingles out of them, so much so, that they had an overstock of said shingles. What did they do? They traded them down to California!

As you can see there is a lot to learn here and it reminds me of how I do like American history and then the part where you re-learn it from different perspectives.

Anyways, the rest of the views of the Fort were interesting. Like a roost of chickens and a garden with a huge turnip.

The living quarters of those not in the "big house" had beds without any mattresses. As I looked at them I figured I could probably survive on such bed since the mattresses in South Korea were as hard as wood.

Game of checkers (?) anyone?

After Fort Nisqually I remembered seeing a funky sandwich cafe on my drive down, so I headed out of the park to get some take out.

I enjoyed my lunch next to Owen's Beach in Point Defiance Park while overlooking the Puget Sound. A few otters graced the shores (sorry no pics) and I admired the clarity of the water.

I really needed this outing as I was beginning to feel too blue these past few weeks. I needed the smell of trees and the sound of water to wake me back up again. I also put school work on hold this past weekend as I made time for me. Overall, I think it helped as I do feel more refreshed these days. So I hope to get out at least once a month, if possible, to some place new.

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