Great Hall

Daniel Williams Harmon
Daniel Williams Harmon
            (Click on images to view larger)

Departing Lachine, a parish of Montreal, on April 29th, 1800, Daniel Williams Harmon, recently hired as a clerk of the domineering North West Company, arrived at Grand Portage having traveled 1½ months by canoe to attend his first summer rendezvous. On July 4, he wrote in his journal, "This evening the gentlemen of the place dressed and we had a famous ball in the dining room, and for musick (sic) we had the bag-pipe the violin, the flute and the fife, which enabled us to spend the evening agreeably. At the ball were a number of this countries ladies, who danced not amiss."

Painted Buffalo Robe
Buffalo robe reproduction on display painted by Michael Galban.

NPS Photo / Mike Plummer-Steen

The dining hall Harmon wrote about was rediscovered by MHS archeologist Ralph Brown during the fall of 1937. After delineating the stockade the previous summer, Brown discovered foundations inside the stockade constructed from fine-grained sandstone. Measuring 95 by 30 feet, the foundation is the largest inside the stockade. The first reconstructed Great Hall was completed in 1940. It burned to the ground when struck by lightning in 1969. The Great Hall now standing was completed in 1972 and reflects the post and beam French-Canadian architecture common to NWCo. depots.

Visitors talk with an interpreter inside the Great Hall.
Visitors talk with a living history interpreter in the Great Hall.

NPS Photo / Mike Plummer-Steen

Today, when you visit the Great Hall, a living history interpreter will guide you through the fully furnished grand room and four corner bedrooms of a building built to exchange gifts and greetings as well as entertain their trade partners the Ojibwe people of Lake Superior. During the rendezvous, it served as a multi-function space for NWCo. partner/owners to catch-up on news, hold business meetings and dine. Then, it was time to celebrate another successful year.


Go to next Venue, Go to Previous Venue, or choose a venue from the images below.

Virtual Tour
Venues left to right: Heritage Center, Ojibwe Village, Canoe Warehouse, Kitchen, Great Hall, Grand Portage Trail and Fort Charlotte.

NPS Photos / Sharon Layton / John Prenevost
Artwork / Howard Sivertson

Heritage Center Ojibwe Village Kitchen Great Hall Canoe Warehouse Grand Portage Trail Fort Charlotte

Last updated: December 21, 2021

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 426
Grand Portage, MN 55605


(218) 475-0123

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