“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Echo in Umatilla County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)

The Blockhouse

The Blockhouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 1, 2017
1. The Blockhouse Marker
Captions: (bottom left) Splitting wedge; Hewing hatchet.
Inscription. From our little castle 100 feet square ... we commended operations early the following morning, and are now in a picket, 100 feet square, seven feet high, and have one blockhouse half-built. -- Luke, an Oregon Mounted Volunteer, from letter dated November 21, 1855

In November 1855, the Oregon Mounted Volunteers constructed a stockade and two blockhouses (or bastions) across the river from this site. The fort was built on the site of the "still smoldering" Utilla (sic) Indian Agency (1851-1855). It was named Fort Henrietta after Henrietta Haller, wife of a U.S. Army officer stationed at Fort The Dalles, in gratitude for her loan of the wagon to poorly supplied militia.
Militia documents suggest the fort was 100 feet by 100 feet, with round-log blockhouses at opposite corners. The stockade was constructed from nine-foot-long, split-cottonwood rails, placed in a two-foot deep trench. Archaeological excavations revealed the original stockade form by outlines of huge burnt logs, and "ghosts" of burnt posts were discovered in the stockade trench excavations. A splitting wedge, probably used to split the cottonwood logs was among the artifacts excavated from the stockade trench. A hewing hatchet, possibly used to construct the fort, was found on the edge of the field near the fort site.
The militia received
The Fort Henrietta Blockhouse (replica) and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 1, 2017
2. The Fort Henrietta Blockhouse (replica) and Marker
The marker is on the right.
orders in April 1856 to abandon and destroy the fort. In May 1856, the commander filed a report stating that the fort had been destroyed. However, accounts of settlers and an 1859 survey indicate a building (possibly a blockhouse) remained standing and was used as a meeting place and arsenal.
Since no drawings were ever located, the replica built in 1985 resembles the 1855 Middle Blockhouse (Fort Rains) at the Cascades of the Columbia.
Erected by City of Echo.
Location. 45° 44.504′ N, 119° 11.898′ W. Marker is in Echo, Oregon, in Umatilla County. Marker can be reached from West Main Street near Water Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10 West Main Street, Echo OR 97826, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Lower Crossing (a few steps from this marker); Umatilla County Jail (within shouting distance of this marker); Covered Wagon Museum (within shouting distance of this marker); Jack Dempsey (within shouting distance of this marker); Charlie Berry Stadium (approx. 0.4 miles away); David R. Koontz (approx. 0.6 miles away); Stansfield Rest Area Oregon Trial Kiosk (approx. 3.3 miles away); The Lewis and Clark Expedition (approx. 13.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Echo.
More about this marker. The Blockhouse is located in Fort Henrietta Park.
Categories. Forts, CastlesWars, US Indian
Credits. This page was last revised on December 26, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 26, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 89 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 26, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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