The West Point Revitali­za­tion Committee has been selected by the Lewis and Clark Trust as its Special Partner of the Year for 2020.

The selection, according to a news release, is “in recognition of its grasp of the significance of having the Lewis and Clark Auto Tour Route signs in West Point.”

They were the first Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Route signs erected along the new 1,200-mile addition to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

West Point was the home of Lewis and Clark Expedition member, John Shields, a man Lewis described as a skillful gunsmith and artist. For Shields, the captains made an exception to their rule of taking only unmarried men into the Corps of Discovery – and it more than paid off. His foresight and ingenuity were invaluable to the expedition’s success, the release said.

Besides being married, Shields, who was 34 years of age, was the oldest enlisted man on the expedition until Jean-Baptiste Lepage joined at Fort Mandan. Additionally, West Point is near the home of Joseph and Reubin Field, two men engaged in every pivotal event during the western exploration. Shields and the Field brothers were members of “The Nine Young Men from Kentucky” and are mentioned prominently in the journals of the expedition.

In addition to the positive impact from greater tourism, the West Point Revitalization Committee realizes that some of those positive impacts are tools for preservation and education.

“West Point is proud of its involvement in the history of the first three centuries of our country and are eager to share that history with visitors,” Gary Masterson of the committee said in the release.

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