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Hartley Fort State Preserve

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hartley Fort State Preserve is a 2-acre (8,100 m2) Iowa state preserve located on the Upper Iowa River in the Driftless Area, in Allamakee County of Iowa, USA.

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Lower Fort Garry in the 1830s, it’s probably a very noisy and bustling place. What the Hudson’s Bay Company is doing at Lower Fort Garry is managing its inventory of trade goods and supplies going out across pretty much all of western Canada. It’s really pretty fundamental to the smooth operations of a transcontinental trading network. York boats were such an important part of the whole story of the Hudson’s Bay Company here in getting supplies up and down the rivers. The York boat is the workhorse of the Hudson’s Bay Company. They carry four or five tons of cargo some of the big ones. It’s basically a big canoe, pointy at both ends and very flat, very shallow because it was used on shallow rivers. The keel on the York boat is very heavy, much heavier than on the whale boats, but that`s because they were used for portaging. They had to be really rugged for carrying them across the log rollers. Well the Métis were the life blood of the Hudson’s Bay Company here. They provided the labour force. So all the trip men who manned the boats and moved the supplies, they all came out of the Métis community. These are strong men, powerful men doing very, very hard work. They take a tremendous amount of pride, not just in their ability to do that job, but to do it with a smile on their face and a song on their lips. You can read about it and you can be told about it, but to see the tangible boat there and realize how big it is and how heavy it must have been and what a job it was, it’s a pretty incredible thing. We wanted one on exhibit that replicated what the boat would have looked like in 1850s. We scoped out the project and decided that we could build three. Two for use in the river and then one for exhibit. To have boats that the local Métis community could have access to, be out on the river and experience that tradition really caught people’s imaginations. The full sized replica is 43-feet long. It’s ten feet in the beam. That would be its widest point at mid-ship. Dry it would weigh like somewhere around 2,500 pounds. It’s built on an oak timber frame and keel. The planking is red pine, so it’s an attempt at making it as authentic as possible. Seeing the gradual progress, seeing this graceful form evolve out of a bunch of scraps of wood is really a very interesting project. The team working on the boats was great to work with - a real diverse sense of personalities, skill sets, but also the wonderful sense of history. Even people that really don’t know much about the history or the boats are very interested and curious about them. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to have a public offer where visitors to Lower Fort Garry will have an opportunity to go out on the river and spend a few minutes out there rowing the boat up and down. I think it gives them a perspective of just how important the Métis people were to Red River history.



Hartley Fort State Preserve sits on a terrace about 80 feet (24 m) above the Upper Iowa, seven miles (11 km) upstream of the confluence with the Upper Mississippi River.

Native Americans

The site is noted for remains of a fortified Native American effigy mound settlement. The mound builder people's era ruins seem to be associated with the Woodland period Oneota and Cahokia cultures.


The Iowa Hartley Fort State Preserve land is privately owned, and there is currently no public access.

See also


This page was last edited on 15 September 2017, at 06:03
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