Welcome to Fort Vancouver National Historic Site! Located primarily in Washington state, Fort Vancouver is situated along the Columbia River just across from Portland, Oregon. A portion of the park, the John McLoughlin residence, is located in Oregon City.
Fort Vancouver was founded as a fur trading post in 1825 by the Hudson’s Bay Company . When it was abandoned in the mid 1800’s, the US military took over operation of the fort. While the historical park is no longer in operation as a military post, there is still a heavy military presence and significant history at the site. This includes Pearson Field and the Vancouver Barracks.
Mount Hood sits majestically off in the distance.
It is important to keep in mind that none of these buildings are original. They were, however, painstakingly put together to adequately show what the fort looked and felt like. The effort is not lost on the parks visitors. Walking around is a step back in time.
I absolutely loved the large porch on the Chief Factor’s house. I could sit on it’s bench all day taking in the views of the mountain and the world around. It’s hard to capture just how romantic this porch is in a photo. Please trust me though. If you visit, take a moment to have a seat and take in the beauty around you. This park is filled with it.
Most of the buildings at the park are open for touring. Take a look back at how the lives of those who lived here almost 200 years ago were.
The wood shop.
I got an incredible treat when I walked into the blacksmith shop. These two gentlemen were fixing metal brackets that needed to be repaired around the park. I spent a good 30 minutes watching them work, pausing from their tasks only to speak to visitors who stopped by. It was fascinating to watch the process of making simple metal items.
If you have the chance to stop by and visit Fort Vancouver, I highly recommend it. The ability to interact with history here is something that you can’t find everywhere. Plan to spend several hours or a good portion of the day. You never know what ‘residents’ you might come across during your visit. Building in enough time before you arrive will allow you to fully enjoy these exhibits.