Forks Fort (1792-1805) - A North West Company trading post, provisioning post and fort first established by Alexander Mackenzie in 1792 near present day Peace River, Alberta, Canada. Probably named for the junction of the Peace River and the Smokey River. Abandoned in 1805. Also known as Fort Fork.
History of Forks Fort
A North West Company trading post, provisioning post and fort first established in 1792 to support the Mackenzie Expedition to the west coast. Located at the junction of the Peace River and the Smokey River south of present day Peace River, Alberta.
In the early part of the 1792 season Alexander Mackenzie sent two men ahead to prepare the site of a winter post for his upcoming expedition. Mackenzie arrived at the site on 1 Nov 1792 and found "not a singe hut" had been built but that all the timber had been prepared by the advance party for a stockade and houses.
Construction of the fort began on 7 Nov 1792 and Mackenzie moved into his quarters on 23 Dec 1792. The men then constructed five 17' by 12' cabins for their quarters. The stockade was constructed around the buildings in a 120' square of logs 18' long and 7" in diameter. Temperatures at this point were well below zero and both rivers were well frozen over.
The spring thaw found both rivers ice free and the snow gone by the 25th of April. On 8 May 1793 Mackenzie sent six canoes, loaded with furs and carrying letters, back to Fort Chipewyan.
Alexander Mackenzie set out on 9 May 1793 on his historic transcontinental journey to the Pacific. He left two of his men to take care of the fort and supply the Indians with ammunition during the summer. After a successful expedition Mackenzie returned to the Forks Fort on 24 Aug 1793 and traveled on to Fort Chipewyan.
Fork Fort was then used as a trading post and was known among North West Company posts as being in good condition with a garden and extensive living quarters. With the merger of the XY Company and the North West Company in 1804-05, Fork Fort was replaced with Fort Dunvegan, which was built further upriver.
In 1909 only "the foundations of the walls [were] left and the crumbling bricks of two old chimneys".
Part of Fort Fork National Historic Site of Canada. No visible remains but the site does include an archeological site. A stone Cairn and sign identify the historical site south of Peace River, Alberta. The actual site of the fort on the east bank may have been lost to erosion of the river banks.