Portland September 13, 2017
The Incredible Fort Near Portland That Will Take You Back In Time
If you haven’t ventured to this historic fort across the river in Vancouver, now is the time to take the trek. Sitting on the banks of the Columbia, this fort’s legacy as a fur trading and military outpost is a fascinating walk through Pacific Northwest history. Established in 1825, at its height, hundreds of people lived at the fort and in the community, making it the largest population in the west until the late 1840s when San Francisco surpassed it during the gold rush.
The fort was built by Hudson's Bay Company, a London-based company, that was involved in the fur trade. The fort became its headquarters and was settled in its current location in 1829.
The original fort was situated next to what was the area's first neighborhood, where employees of the company lived with their families in simple cabins. In 1849, the United States Army established a post above the fort to assist in the peaceful settlement of the area and it served as a headquarters and supply center for decades.
In 1866, the fort burned to the ground, and what is standing today is a replication of the original fort on its original footprint.
After WWII, the army decreased its ranks at the fort and much of the land was transferred to the National Park Service. In 1947, the National Park Service began excavating the area, and archaeologist Louis Caywood was able to identify the original footprint of the fort.
From there, the fort stockade and several buildings were reconstructed and are on display for visitors today.
Visitors can tour the garden, blacksmith shop, bakeshop, and carpentry shop to learn about the lives of the early day settlers and their daily struggles and triumphs.
You can even get a glimpse into the medical care of the time at the fort's dispensary, the place to go for medical treatment in the 1800s.
The fort offers nighttime tours by lantern to experience what it was really like living in the fort and community before electricity became a mainstay of life.
This fascinating walk through history will hold the attention of both children and adults, as you explore how challenging life was without the modern conveniences so taken for granted today.
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, visitor's center, and Pearson Air Museum are open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, and the park grounds are open from dawn until dusk daily. The cost to enter the reconstructed fort site is $5 for anyone over 15. The Visitor's Center and Pearson Air Museum offer free admission.
Have you visited Fort Vancouver? What is your favorite part? Let us know in the comments below.