The Benton County Natural Areas and Parks Department, with support from the Benton County Fort Hoskins Advisory Board and the Alliance for Recreation and Natural Areas, are hosting an open house at Fort Hoskins Historic Park from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Presentations will be provided at the commander’s house and the Franz-Dunn house will be open for touring. Re-enactors of the Civil War will be in attendance with period clothing and armaments, including a canon, which will be ignited a few times during the event. A nature walk of the grounds will be led by a county botanist.
The event is free and open to all. A shuttle vehicle will be available to take visitors from Fort Hoskins’ main parking area down to the houses.
Fort Hoskins was established in 1856 to keep Native Americans on the new coastal reservation and white settlers from incursions in their direction. Two officers' quarters and the commander's house were built under the supervision of Phil Sheridan serving under Post Commander Christopher Augur.
The fort was decommissioned at the end of the war and was returned to area settlers. Most buildings, already deteriorating, were dismantled or moved. The commander's house was moved about eight miles to the community of Pedee.
The area flourished until the 1960s with logging and farming, even having a train system. Benton County purchased the property for a park in 1991 and opened it to the public in 2002. In 2012, with the assistance of the Alliance for Recreation and Natural Areas, the county was able to acquire the commander’s house at Pedee through several grants and donations. The house was moved on two trucks to the site in October 2012 and has been undergoing exterior preservation and rehabilitation work by Benton County.
Future projects include work on the interior with the goal to create fashions and furnishings available during that time period to an officer of the federal army. Ongoing research, beginning in the 1970s by David Brauner of Oregon State University, and recent investigations by Kathleen Bryant, have revealed much about the lives of the many who lived there before and during the settlement and Civil War years.