If you’ve been “up on the hill” lately, you may have noticed that some activity has been going on around Fort Mason. The Mason County Historical Society is in the midst of several projects designed to improve the usefulness of the Fort and surrounding property to draw local and visiting guests to the area to learn about the early days of Mason County.
Tommy Koepke, the chair of the Fort Mason Committee in the Historical Society, has a vision for how to make Fort Mason more attractive to visitors. Almost two months ago he headed up an effort to clear the area next to the existing Fort building, build a retaining wall and then level the area. “This would allow re-enactments and other activities to be conducted at the Fort”, Tommy says. This began the first major work at Fort Mason since the existing building and exhibits were completed in 1976. In addition a security wall is currently under construction in front of the Fort building. And after that, there are plans to construct a blacksmith shop. Completion of these plans is limited by funds from the Historical Society. Tommy noted, “We need another couple of thousand dollars to finish up the current projects. Things will soon be on hold until we can raise that amount”.
Tommy sees other things as well in the future – a covered wagon, corral, and even a cannon. Moving forward, however, the boldest initial move is to create a “Friends of the Fort” group that would help with improvement ideas, provide volunteer time to maintain the property and complete projects, and coordinate fund-raising and other activities. All of these things are needed in order to further develop and maintain Fort Mason. The Fort is a good draw to tourists now, enhancing the experience and conducting special events on site will only add to the appeal.
The Mason County Historical Society is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization that promotes and maintains historical activities and artifacts related to Mason County. Fort Mason, the Mason County Museum, and the Mason Square Museum are all parts of the Historical Society. Membership is open to anyone interested in the history of Mason County. If interested in joining, you can contact Charles Pluenneke, Chair of the Membership Committee (347-5581). Dues are only $10 per person per year. Donations are also always welcomed. And, finally, if the activities at Fort Mason or The Friends of the Fort interest you, you can contact Tommy Koepke (347-6021).