Friday, July 25, 2014

Fort Vancouver

In June, I took the kids to Fort Vancouver. It was our first visit to this historic site.

Built in 1829, Fort Vancouver was once the most important settlement in the Pacific Northwest. It was the headquarters for the Columbia department of Britain's Hudson's Bay Company and primarily used for fur trade.

Here's some of what we enjoyed that day:

Palisade, Entrance to the fort & the Bastion at the end
A palisade is a wall of logs used to protect a fort. This palisade was used to protect the fort from theft, not battle.

Chief Factor's Residence & Kitchen

We arrived at the kitchen as the cook was getting his ingredients together.

Well & Wash house

Bakehouse & Wash House
An oven inside the Bakehouse used to bake bread & biscuits.

Inside the Blacksmith Shop

This guy explained how they used coal in the blacksmith shop & showed us an old beaver trap.

Excavated nails at Fort Vancouver

Chief Factor's Residence, sometimes called the Big House
This was the home of the chief factor in charge of Fort Vancouver.

Canon with the Chief Factor's Residence in background

Mt. St. Helens in the distance

There was only one bastion built to protect Fort Vancouver.

The original bastion was built in 1845.

A peek at the fort through a cannon slit at the top of the bastion. The white building in front is the Counting House.

Inside the Counting House
The Counting House was where the financial records were kept.

One room in the Counting House had interactive things for the kids to explore.

I found this intriguing. It's a map of Sea Routes of the Fur Trade, 1785-1860

Another Room was set up to resemble Capt. Thomas Baillie's bedroom.

Carpenter Shop

There were two carpenters in the shop when we stopped by. One continued to work & the other answered questions the kids asked.

I believe most of the pieces in the carpenter shop are reproductions made by carpenters, such as the two men we met.

Fur Warehouse
The furs collected throughout the region were brought here to be cleaned & pressed before being sent to England.

Inside the small building used as a Jail were only these items.

Looking out the peephole in the jail door.

There are other things to see at the Fort Vancouver Historical Site including a garden, barracks & Victorian homes.

Interpretive Garden
A small scale version of the garden that was once outside the palisade walls.

Vancouver Barracks
In 1846, Oregon Country was divided so that north of the 49th parallel now belonged to the US, which meant the Britain based Hudson's Bay Company soon moved out. In 1849 the US Army established a post just slightly above the Fort. By 1866 all the buildings at the Fort were destroyed.

Officers Row
Officers Row is a tree lined street that once held the homes of US military officers of the Vancouver Barracks. The homes are still standing, but are no longer used for military personal. A couple of the homes are open to the public, others are residential homes.

We even found time to do a little letterboxing while at the Fort.

A couple weeks prior we collected a hitch hiker from a letterbox. A hitch hiker is an extra stamp & logbook found in a letterbox meant to be taken and placed somewhere else. We placed it in a letterbox we found at Fort Vancouver.

We spent a couple hours exploring the Fort and the garden. Although not my favorite site from the National Park Service, we still had a great time. I know I learned as much, if not more, than the kids. It's definitely on my list of places to return to.

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