Repairs in Store for Historic Adobe House

The Adobe House, originally used as officers’ quarters at Fort Gaston from the late 1850s to 1892, needs repairs and a new roof. / Photo by Kristan Korns, Two Rivers Tribune

By KRISTAN KORNS, Two Rivers Tribune

Volunteers from the Adobe House Restoration Committee met Friday, February 14, to finalize repair plans for the damaged historical building.

Norma McAdams said, “Boring bees have bored into the southeast side of the building. Our goal is to do some immediate repairs.”

The Adobe House was made from local clay formed into bricks. It was used as officers’ quarters    for Fort Gaston from the late 1850s to 1892.

Fort Gaston was built where Ltsasdin village once stood.

Marcellene Norton said, “This is so much a part of our history that young people need to know about. Our people stood up and refused to be moved out of the Valley.”

Small bands of Hupa warriors fought a guerilla war against the occupying troops for over a year after soldiers from Fort Gaston announced plans to transport the Hupa out of the Valley and forced the people of Me’dil ding village into a prison camp at gunpoint.

The war ended on August 12, 1864, with a treaty of Peace and Friendship signed between the Hupa and the United States that recognized a 12-mile by 12-mile square as Hupa territory, establishing the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation.

Volunteers from the Restoration Committee plan to repair damage to the Adobe House using the same local materials that it was first built with.

McAdams said, “As soon as it stops raining, we’re going to plaster up the holes and cover it with lime, and then we need to do the roof.”

“We’re going to put on new redwood shakes made by community members out of the redwood tree that’s leaning over the building,” McAdams said. “We eventually hope to turn it into a cultural interpretive center.”

Councilmember and Tribal Historian Byron Nelson Jr., said the history of the Fort and its connection with the Hupa people is complex; while some U.S. military commanders pushed for war, others at the Fort helped protect the Hupa from settler attacks.

“They turned back a group of 70 settlers from Weaverville who were headed to attack the residents of the Hoopa Valley,” Nelson said.

“There are a lot of people in the Valley connected to these soldiers, because a lot of the officers married Hupa women,” Nelson said. “They’re in our blood.”

Tribal Chairperson Danielle Vigil-Masten said the Tribe will be using a LIDAR machine to look underground and map out where the Fort once stood, and that the Adobe House will eventually become a historical museum.

“The Adobe House is one of the last monuments on the reservation that had to do with the soldiers,” Vigil-Masten said.

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February 25th, 2014

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