Fort Okanogan

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Site of Fort Okanogan
Fort Okanogan is located in Washington (state)
Fort Okanogan
Location Okanogan County, Washington, USA
Nearest city Brewster, Washington
Coordinates 48°06′01″N 119°43′08″W / 48.10028°N 119.71889°W / 48.10028; -119.71889Coordinates: 48°06′01″N 119°43′08″W / 48.10028°N 119.71889°W / 48.10028; -119.71889
Built 1811
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 73001883[1]
Added to NRHP June 4, 1973

Fort Okanogan (also spelled Fort Okanagan) was founded as a fur trade outpost by John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Company in 1811. It was built at the confluence of the Okanogan and Columbia Rivers, in what is now Okanogan County, Washington. The fort was the first American-owned settlement in what is now Washington,[2] although its ownership soon passed to the North West Company when the Pacific Fur Company sold out its assets and posts to its rival.

Originally built for the Pacific Fur Company, the North West Company purchased the fort, along with the rest of the Pacific Fur Company, in 1813. In 1821 the North West Company was merged into Hudson's Bay Company, which took over operation of Fort Okanogan as part of its Columbia District. The fort was an important stop on the York Factory Express trade route to London via Hudson Bay.

HBC Governor Sir George Simpson commented about Fort Okanagan during his 1841 visit to the Columbia District: an outpost from the establishment of Thompson's River [Fort Thompson/Fort Shuswap], maintained more for the purpose of facilitating the transport business of that post and New Caledonia than for trade as there are few or no Fur bearing animals in the surrounding country.[3]

In 1846, the Oregon Treaty was ratified, ending the Oregon boundary dispute and the joint-occupation of Oregon Country, though the Hudson's Bay Company was allowed to continue use of the fort. However, due to the decline of the transport business in the area, the HBC abandoned the fort in 1860.[4]

The site of the fort was flooded in 1967 by the reservoir Lake Pateros due to the construction of Wells Dam.[4]

Fort Okanogan State Park[edit]

Until 2011, Fort Okanogan State Park 48°05′53″N 119°40′42″W / 48.09806°N 119.67833°W / 48.09806; -119.67833 overlooked the fort site and the Columbia River. Comprising 45-acre (180,000 m2), the park wasfor day use and featured the Fort Okanogan Interpretive Center, a museum with exhibits about the fort, area pioneers and the fur trapping industry. Due to budget constraints, the park was transferred out of state ownership in 2011.[5] As of 2013, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation were working to reopen the interpretive center.[6]

The park is located five miles (8 km) north of Brewster, Washington.[2] It is closed during the winter. Admission is free.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b Gulick, Bill. A Traveler's History of Washington. Caxton Press, 1996. ISBN 0-87004-371-4. p. 339
  3. ^ British Columbia from the Earliest Times to the Present, E.O.S. Scholefield and F.W. Howay, p. 406
  4. ^ "2011 Agency Centennial Accord Plan". Washington Governor's Office of Indian Affairs. p. 7. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  5. ^ "Fort Okanogan Interpretive Center". The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. 

External links[edit]