Welcome to the Monday Update. This will be a 5 Part news update, showing a step-by-step process to making a Fur Trading Post.
The images shown are Prototype images of the sculpted work, prior to master painting.
We hope you enjoy!
Mike & Myszka and all at the Sierra Toy Soldier Company
After a local customer visited the workshop and saw me working, I was encouraged to produce something a bit different this week.
This will be a 5 Part news update, showing a step-by-step process to making a Fur Trading Post.
A "Fur Trading Post", has been on my list to produce for a long time. It will be an ideal addition to the Fur Trade series, as well as a suitable piece for the earlier French and Indian War.
For nearly 250 years, from the early 17th to the mid-19th centuries, the fur trade was a vast commercial enterprise across north America.
A trading post, or trading station was an establishment or settlement where goods and services could be traded.
The location of the trading post would allow people from one geographical area to trade in goods produced in another area. These were to become an integral part of native American lives. Items exchanged were woven rugs, jewelry, baskets, wool, and other necessities.
Trading Posts near waterways were popular, as they allowed for easier movement of goods and furs.
This will also be an ideal backdrop to add alongside the recently previewed Keelboat.
My research led me to a reconstructed trade post operated by the Minnesota Historical Society near Pine City, at the site of an original post built by the North West Company on the Snake River in 1804.
The Snake River Fur Post is a reconstructed fur trade trading post on the Snake River west of Pine City.
The Post was established in the Autumn of 1804 by John Sayer, a partner in the North West Company, and built by his crew of voyageurs.
The North West Company was formed in Montreal in mid 1780's from a partnership of British merchants. The company established a large post at Grand Portage and built several other forts to house wintering voyageurs.
The typical fort would include a dwelling for the clerk, a storehouse and a bunkhouse for the 10-20 voyageurs who would spend the winter there.
The Snake River Post has been reconstructed and furnished to represent the period from 1804-05.
The Minnesota Historical Society reconstructed the site in 1968 and opened the site as a historic site in 1970. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The museum is open in the summer, and costumed guides help interpret the site. The visitor center features exhibits about the post's history, a great room, fireplace and retail store.
My other choice for researching a fur trading post, was based on "Fort Whoop up".
Fort Whoop-Up was an American whiskey trader post, which was first established as Fort Hamilton in 1869, near present day Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.
It was established by the American whiskey traders Alfred B. Hamilton and John J. Healy in 1869. The original fort was a simple collection of log cabins and not adequate for the trade that was to develop. These original buildings were burned down in a fire, and a larger more secure fort was built. The new fort was well built with a high palisade and two bastions on opposing corners. The post was built with squared logs and took two years to complete. It became known as Fort Whoop-Up.
Furs and hides were traded for trade goods, and the whiskey was expected to be provided at the end of the trade as a mandatory sweetener for the deal.
A confluence of events and actions forced the formation of the North West Mounted Police in 1873.
In 1874 the newly formed NWMP marched west from Winnipeg, split into three major columns and descended onto the three biggest trouble spots.
The column headed by Colonel James F. Macleod headed for Fort Whoop-Up with the intention to halt the whiskey trade and remove the flag flying over the post.
Macleod and his command arrived in October 1874 but found no whiskey. Fort Macleod was then established about 30 miles further west.
The NWMP established an outpost at Fort Whoop-Up in 1875 by renting a building from Healey and Hamilton.
In 1876 Dave Akers acquired the fort property, and as trade declined as the Buffalo became extinct, the fort was used as a ranch. The ranch was lost in 1892 to creditors, and the last remains were washed away in a 1915 flood.
Now the research has been completed I have in my mind what I'm going to make. I decided that a Fur Trading Fort, based on the Snake River Post, was what I was going to make.
Using scrap cardboard, of which there is plenty lying around the workshop, I produced a "mock up" of the model, helping me to determine proportions of the overall fort, and the size of how each piece will break down.
Once the mock up has determined the dimensions of the fort, it's time to get started on the construction of the pieces.
PART 2 of this 5-part series will continue tomorrow Tuesday 1st JUNE, and throughout the rest of this week.