Development of Fort Vancouver by the Hudson’s Bay Company from 1825 through 1846 was a seminal event in the history of the Pacific Northwest and lower Columbia River basin. The fort was an outpost of Western civilization during that period and functioned as a commerce and provisionary center for the lucrative fur trade throughout the Pacific Northwest. It was named in honor of the famous British sea explorer, Captain George Vancouver.
Under the leadership of Dr. John McLoughlin, the Hudson’s Bay Company at Fort Vancouver played a central role in the European settlement of the Pacific Northwest. As the anchor to British claims in the Pacific Northwest, Fort Vancouver was at the center of competing interests between Great Britain and the United States. With Fort Vancouver as its regional headquarters, the Hudson's Bay Company controlled 34 forts and posts in a territory encompassing present-day British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana and the Hawaiian Islands.
An 1835 visitor to the fort described it as "the New York of the Pacific."
Owing to its national significance, the site was designated a National Historic Monument by Congress on June 19, 1948. In 1961, its size was expanded and renamed Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
Extensive archaeological documentation of the Fort Vancouver site from the 1940s to the present has provided a significant body of information for the interpretation and reconstruction of Fort Vancouver and its environs. Buildings reconstructed to date include the Chief Factor's House, bakery, blacksmith shop, central stores and fur storage facility. The site continues to yield important archaeological information concerning early nineteenth century patterns, events, processes, design and construction methods. Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is administered by the National Park Service.
OREGON AND WASHINGTON GUIDE
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