Stacks Image 5
Photograph and text courtesy of the Fort Lewis Military Museum.

Fort, Camps and Military Posts in Early Washington

Military and civilian forts, camps and blockhouses, and posts played an important role in the history of early Washington. This map marks the general location of the most important sites in what is now Washington State. Originally, the Washington area was part of the Oregon Territory. In 1853, Washington became a separate territory and finally, in 1889, a state. This map focus on the period prior to statehood, when Washington was truly a frontier and forts provided a focal point for soldiers, traders, and pioneers in the region. To provide perspective, several forts bordering on Washington are depicted on the map. However, only those actually within the borders of the present state o Washington are described here.

FORT ALDEN. Fort Alden was built by the Washington Territorial Volunteers in 1856 near Snoqualmie Falls.
ALEXANDER BLOCKHOUSE. Settlers built a two story blockhouse in 1855 on the John Alexander claim for protection from Indian attack.
FORT BELLINGHAM. A stockade fort was built by the U. S. Army as a main military post on northern Puget Sound. It was active from 1856-1860 and was of great importance during the “Pig War” confrontation between the United States and Great Britain.
FORT BENNETT. This temporary field fortification was built by the Oregon Volunteers in 1855 near the site of the Whitman Mission. It was named after Captain Charles Bennett who was killed fighting the Indians and was buried in the stockade.
FORT BORST. The Oregon Volunteers built this blockhouse to protect the nearby Chehalis River crossing during the Yakima War of 1856.
FORT CANBY. The U. S. Army originally built this coastal fortification in 1864 as Fort Cape Disappointment. Later, it was named Fort Canby and served as a military post until 1950.
FORT CASCADSES. This fort was built by the U. S. Army and actually consisted of three small fortifications that guarded the portage sites on the Columbia River.
FORT CHAMBERS. During the Indian War of 1855, the Chambers family built this blockhouse for protection. The blockhouse overlooked Lake Chambers near Olympia.
CAMP CHEHALIS. Built by the U. S. Army on the eve of the Civil War, this camp was abandoned when the troops left to fight in the east. It was located near the entrance to Grays Harbor.
FORT COLVILE. This important Hudson Bay Company post was built in 1826 and named after an officer in the company.
FORT COLVILLE. The U. S. Army built this strategically located post fourteen miles east of the Hudson Bay trading post in 1859. Originally called Harney’s Depot, the Army adopted the name of the trading post, but managed to misspell it. It was active until 1882.
CROCKETT BLOCKHOUSE. Built on the Crockett farm on Whidbey Island in 1855, it was built to provide protection from Indian attack.
DAVIS BLOCKHOUSE. This blockhouse was built in 1855 and was one of the largest on Whidbey Island.
FORT DECATUR. Also known as the Seattle Blockhouse, U. S. Marines manned this fort during the siege of Seattle. It was active in 1855-56.
FORT DUWAMISH. Built by Seattle area settlers in 1855, it was established for protection from the Indians.
EBEY BLOCKHOUSE. The Washington Territorial Volunteers build this fortification in 1855.
ENGLISH CAMP. Build in 1860 to protect British rights to San Juan Island. Garrisoned until 1872 when the decision was made to cede the island to the United States.
FORT HAYS. A cedar log blockhouse built in 1856 near Connell’s Prairie by the Washington Territorial Volunteers.
FORT HENDERSON. A blockhouse built by the Washington Territorial Volunteers in 1856.
FORT HENNESS. Built by Mound Prairie settlers in 1855 and named for a militia captain.
FORT KITSAP. Located near Port Madison as a temporary fort in 1855, it was erected by the Washington Volunteers.
FORT LANDER. A blockhouse built in the Seattle area by the Washington Volunteers in 1856.
FORT MALIKOFF. In 1853, settlers built this small fort to protect a sawmill at Port Gamble.
FORT MALONEY. The U. S. Army built this blockhouse in 1855 near present day Puyallup.
FORT MASON. A blockhouse built by pioneers in Port Townsend in 1855 for protection against Indian raids in the Puget Sound region.
FORT MILLER. Washington Volunteers built this blockhouse and corral southeast of Olympia in 1856. It provided a base of operations for military actions against the Indians.
FORT NACHES. Build by the 9th U. S., Infantry as a base of operations in 1856.
FORT NISQUALLY. A stockade fort built by the Hudson Bay Company in 1833 near DuPont. The post was active until it closed in 1869.
FORT NEZ PERCES (WALLA WALLA). From 1818 to 1856 this fur trading post was operated for the Northwest Company. The trading post came to be known as Walla Walla.
FORT OKANAGON. This trading post was built in 1811 and operated until 1859. The post passed from the Pacific Fur Company to the Northwest Company and finally to the Hudson Bay Company.
OLYMPIA STOCKADE. The stockade was erected in 1853 by settlers to protect the town of Olympia.
CAMP PICKETT. This camp was established by the U. S. Army in 1859 on San Juan Island to protect American interests. It was abandoned in 1872 after the island was ceded to the United States.
FORT SIMCOE. Established by the U. S. Army in 1856, it was active until 1859. It featured wood frame and log buildings and four blockhouses. It is located near White Swan.
FORT SLAUGHTER. This was a regular Army post established in 1855 on the Muckleshoot Prairie.
FORT SMALLEY. Built in 1856 by the Washington Volunteers near North Bend.
SPOKANE HOUSE. The Northwest Company operated this trading post from 1810 to 1813.
FORT SPOKANE. This fort was established by the Pacific Fur Company in 1812.
FORT SPOKANE. This was a U. S. Army post active from 1882 to 1899.
FORT STEILACOOM. Fort Steilacoom was established by the U. S. Army in 1849 as the strategic post in the Puget Sound region. It was garrisoned until 1868.
FORT STEVENS. This fort was built on the Yelm Prairie by the Washington Volunteers in 1856. There was also a Fort Stevens in Oregon which was established as a coastal fortification in 1865.
FORT TAYLOR. Fort Taylor was established by the U. S. Army to conduct the Indian Campaign of 1858.
FORT THOMAS. A blockhouse built by the U. S. Army in 1857. It was located on the south bank of the Green River.
FORT TILTON. Washington Volunteers built and operated this blockhouse, near the Snoqualmie Falls, from 1855 – 1856.
FORT TOWNSEND. This fort was established near Port Townsend in 1856 by the U. S. Army to protect the western part of Puget Sound. It was active until 1895.
FORT VANCOUVER. The Hudson Bay Company established this trading post on the Columbia River in 1825. It was active until 1860 when the site was sold to the United States.
VANCOUVER BARRACKS. Also known as Columbia Barracks and Fort Vancouver, this important fort was established by the U. S. Army in 1849. The post is still used by the U. S. Army Reserves.
FORT WALLA WALLA. Three different U. S. Army posts were established in this area. The first was built in 1856. The second was active 1856 – 1858 and, the third, 1858 – 1911.
FORT WATERS. This fort was built by Oregon Volunteers in 1848, following the massacre at the Whitman Mission.
FORT YAKIMA VALLEY. A blockhouse and storehouses were built by the Washington Volunteers in 1856 to protect the Yakima Valley.