Plankhouse on RNWR

Cathlapotle

Plankhouse Project

building a future for the past


The Plankhouse Has Become a Reality!

On March 29, 2005, the 199th anniversary of Lewis and Clark's visit to the Cathlapotle people, the door to the Cathlapotle Plankhouse on Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge was officially opened! Though it will be several months until the building is staffed with volunteers and open to the public on a regular basis, the Door Opening ceremony marked a major milestone for the project. Over 100 volunteers and 3500 hours of labor went into building the plankhouse, largely from donated timber. For photographs of the Housewarming 2005 events, go to Noel Johnson's Lewisriver.com

Now that the structure is standing, focus will shift to training volunteer staff and conducting workshops and work parties to furnish and interpret the plankhouse. If you're interested in learning more about volunteering, click here.

Project Background

It was one of the largest Chinookan villages encountered by Lewis and Clark, but today Cathlapotle is one of the few archaeological sites on the Lower Columbia River that has withstood the ravages of flooding, looting, and development. A decade of archaeological research -- the result of a partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Chinook Tribe, and Portland State University -- has produced a wealth of information about the Chinookan people who lived on the river long before Lewis and Clark first observed Cathlapotle in 1805.

We are very excited to be building a full-scale Chinookan-style cedar plankhouse on the Refuge which will serve as an outdoor classroom for interpreting the rich natural and cultural heritage preserved on Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge through the site of Cathlapotle.

Stay tuned! The future will bring diverse opportunities for learning about the community's history, prehistory, traditional construction methods, and many more new ideas and concepts.

Click on the links to learn more about the project and about how you can get involved. Come learn with us!

Go to:

Friends of the Plankhouse Membership Form

- Latest Update: July 30, 2006 (pdf)

 
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Plankhouse Calendar

Find out when the plankhouse is open and learn about Hands-on Workshops, Events & Volunteer Opportunities

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History and Interesting Tidbits
The Organizations Making it Happen!
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Donation Opportunities
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Scientific Research at Cathlapotle
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Discover Cathlapotle! Information
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Future Plans for a Museum and Curation Facility
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Their Visit to Cathlapotle and Other Clark County Sites
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Ridgefield NWR and Beyond

This page last updated: 01-Aug-2006