Chip Jenkins talks about last year's fire and the rebuilding of Fort Clatsop near Astoria, Ore.
Chip Jenkins knows a thing or two about grace under pressure. Last October, the superintendent of Lewis and Clark National Historical Park near Astoria, Ore., lost a key part of his domain. Just five weeks before the 200th anniversary celebration of the explorers' arrival on the Northwest coast, a fast-moving fire leveled the 5o-year-old replica of Fort Clatsop. (503) 861-2471, www.nps.gov/lewi. 
Q What stands out in your memory about the night the fort burned?
A The volunteer fire-fighters kept coming up to say they were sorry they didn't get there earlier or couldn't do more. Some had parents or grandparents who helped build the fort in 1954 and '55. That really got me.
Q What did you do next?
A We met with the local bicentennial organizers and agreed that the fire was not going to stop the celebration. We knew we wanted to rebuild and that we had to involve the community.
Q Did anyone take you up on it?
A We called for volunteers before the first day of reconstruction, but we weren't quite sure what to expect. There were 125 people—a whole bunch of families—de-barking logs with drawknives, shovels, and scrapers.
Q Try anything new?
A In keeping with the types of tools the Corps of Discovery would have had, the new logs aren't uniform and the ends were cut with axes. The rebuilt Fort Clatsop is far more rustic than the previous one.
Q Are you happy with how it all went?
A Yes, completely. My 6-year-old son, Hayden, looked up at me and said, "All of these people have come to help. Pretty cool, huh, Dad?"
Photography by Don Frank
This article was first published in September 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.