GREAT FALLS — The Lewis &Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls is hosting a talk on Tuesday, November 14th about Fort Benton and the Lewis & Clark expedition.
Titled “Fort Benton Remembers Lewis and Clark: A prelude to the Great Portage”, historian Ken Robison will discuss local aspects of Lewis and Clark’s journey, such as the portage around the Great Falls and Decision Point.
“’Fort Benton Remembers Lewis and Clark,’” Carol Bronson, President of the Portage Route Chapter of Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation said, “So he's talking about the prelude to the expedition, the portage around here, and the critical decision at decision point, which is up the road a ways. And they could have gone down a different river and they both looked exactly the same.”
The great portage involved the expedition crew hauling all their boats and supplies out of the Missouri River and around the Great Falls. the event was incredibly strenuous while the geography was unforgiving.
Robison’s lecture is a part of the Ida Johnson Lecture Series, where the Interpretive Center holds monthly entertaining and informational sessions the public can attend.
“One of the things that Portage Route has done literally for years is to have scholarly speakers,” Bronson said, “And so every month again, we have an event or a speaker. And so Ken was chosen because he is a well-known historian.”
Portage Route Chapter was started in 1984, only 15 years after the Trail Heritage Foundation was founded. They study a plethora of maps and documents regarding the exposition, especially the Great Portage. While the journey has been covered lightly in many American history classes, the Interpretive Center involves an incredibly detailed look into everything that went on during the trip.
“It's important to talk about everybody and everything because there's lots of aspects, lots of science, lots of geography, lots of botany, because it was a scientific expedition,” Bronson said, “… so it really is worthwhile if people are interested either from a conservation standpoint or a history or just to get your kids out to do something interesting. It is worth following.”
Robison’s talk will focus on Fort Benton’s involvement in Lewis and Clark’s journey. Though a much smaller town than Great Falls today, Fort Benton was originally the hub city for the area, as it was where the steamboats originally came up the Missouri to.
Robison’s talk begins at 7:00P.M. on Tuesday, November 14th and is free to the public. If you wish to attend virtually, contact PRC board member Zeke Leeds at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject like, “PRC Program”.