The 20-square-mile expanse of picturesque lakes and Douglas fir groves in which Lakewood is nestled was first known as "The Prairie," a vital crossroads between the Columbia River Gorge and Vancouver, British Columbia, for British fur traders and Native Americans. Fort Steilacoom became a stronghold of American interests before, during, and after the Indian War of 1855–1856 and was a crucible for men who would figure prominently in the Civil War. The prairie and the Lakes District later grew into a playground for Tacoma's wealthy. On one end of Lakewood, racerssuch as Barney Oldfield and Eddie Rickenbacker entertained tens of thousands; while on the other end, health care professionals at Western State Hospital sought answers to mental illness. Lakewood still boasts the first golf club in the West—the Tacoma Country and Golf Club—and the internationally known Lakewold Gardens.