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Kentucky Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission
December 2005

Homecoming Series of Events

The Kentucky Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission is gearing up for the 2006 Homecoming Series of Events. In November of next year, Kentucky will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the return of the Corps of Discovery from their journey to the west. Both Lewis and Clark traveled directly through the heart of the commonwealth on their way to Washington, D.C., to report to President Thomas Jefferson.

This was a remarkable journey through Kentucky in a number of ways. First, the Lewis and Clark Expedition had essentially been given up for dead. Whether they had succumbed to Indians, the elements, or wild animals was a subject of much speculation in early-nineteenth-century America. When the expedition finally arrived in St. Louis, the entire nation rejoiced in its return. Indeed, when Lewis and Clark proceeded towards the nation’s capital, traveling through the commonwealth, they came home to a hero’s welcome. Imagine the marvelous stories that Kentuckian William Clark reported to his kinsmen and fellow Kentuckians about the arduous adventure he experienced!

The Kentucky Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission encourages individuals and communities across the commonwealth to participate in the Homecoming Series of Events. The commission has made grant money available to support programming for this and other Lewis and Clark related projects. Educational programming, speaking events, archaeological digs, and exhibits are just a few of the wonderful programs that can occur. Don’t be left out of the fun! Plan something for your area.

A map of the Kentucky Homecoming Trail is currently available by contacting Warren Greer at, and it will be included in subsequent newsletters and the web site. A link to the grant is provided in this newsletter. If you have any questions, please e-mail Warren Greer or call by phone at (502) 564-5135 x 4478.

See you on the trail!

Click here for the 2005-2006 Lewis and Clark Grant (Adobe PDF - 263 KB).

200 Years Ago on the Lewis and Clark Expedition . . .

“At day light this morning we we[re] awoke by the discharge of the fire arm of all our party & a Selute, Shoute and a Song which the whole party joined in under our windows, after which the whole party retired to their rooms were Chearfull all the morning . . . we would have Spent this day the nativity of Christ in feasting, had we any thing either to raise our Sperits or even gratify our appetites.”

- William Clark, December 25, 1805

By December 1805, the Corps of Discovery was on the Pacific coast. This objective had been reached in mid-November. The explorers could spare no time to tarry. Winter was closing in and they needed to build their winter quarters. Meriwether Lewis selected a site on the south side of the Columbia River along the Netul (today’s Lewis and Clark) River and construction of Fort Clatsop soon began. Their winter home provided welcome shelter from the almost daily rain. But the overcast skies and rain failed to dampen the explorers’ Christmas spirit. The celebration they had that December 25th was half a continent removed from the one they had enjoyed at Fort Mandan the year before – but was certainly joyous. They had reached their goal! They had reached the Pacific!

Kentucky Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission

phone: 502.564.1792

Created by executive order and administered by the Kentucky Historical Society, the Kentucky Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission seeks to educate Kentuckians and the nation about Kentucky's important role in the Lewis and Clark Expedition; assist governments and organizations with their Kentucky- related Lewis and Clark bicentennial events and projects; and perform other duties that will highlight and commemorate Kentucky's significant contributions to this historic achievement.