Welcome to Vancouver, the 4th largest city in the state of Washington! You have made it almost the entire way across the country to come visit my home town. I hope you enjoy your visit to the “Original Vancouver”. It is the oldest permanent non-native settlement in Pacific Northwest.
One of the favorite sayings about my city:
Vancouver not B.C.
Washington not D.C
Clark County not Nevada
Near Portland, Or. not Maine”
Vancouver is located on the North side of the Columbia River. We are considered a Suburb of Portland Oregon, but Vancouver has been in existence much longer. The first Europeans landed here in 1775, and Lewis and Clark camped here in 1806. Merriweather Lewis said the “area was "the only desired situation for settlement west of the Rocky Mountains." The first permanent European settlement did not occur until 1824, when Fort Vancouver was established as a fur trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company. From that time on, the area was settled by both the US and Britain under a "joint occupation" agreement. “ (wikipedia)
Here is a sketch of what the Fort originally looked like in 1845
And what the rebuilt Fort Vancouver Historical Site looks like today.
Shall we plan to come back to the Fort tonight, for one of the Lantern Tours?
For now, let's head north to the more modern part of the National Historical Site...to Officer's Row. Many famous military personnel have lived here over the years.
Notable soldiers who served at Vancouver Barracks:
Gen. Ulysses S. Grant
Gen. George McClellan
Gen. Philip Sheridan
Gen. O.O. Howard
Gen. George C. Marshall
This is the George C. Marshall house.
This is the Ulysses S Grant House where we can relax and have lunch. General Grant never actually lived in the house. It is the oldest of all the houses on Officer's Row, build in 1853.
There are many more military houses from the late 1800's along officers row, most are now private homes and offices. The Grant house is now a restaurant and the Marshall house is used for weddings and events.
Now let's head on down to the river...we can walk over the highway via the Land Bridge.
Our Land Bridge is quite famous! It was designed by Maya Lin, the same woman who designed the Vietnan Memorial in Washington DC.
As we cross over the bridge, we will stop at three Overlooks. the first is the Village Overlook. You will see the word People, and all the Native American words for People that were used by the tribes along the Columbia.
Next we come to the Prairie Overlook
Next is the River Overlook
Along this portion of the Land Bridge you will learn about "Vancouver", with pictures from the time of the Hudson Bay Company, up to the Kaiser Shipyards of WWII.
As we leave the Land Bridge, we will pass under the Portal, which honors the Native peoples of the Columbia.
Over to your right is Old Apple Tree Park. The tree was planted in 1826, and is the oldest apple tree in the Northwest. It is considered to be the Matriarch of Washington's apple industry.
Now, let's go for a walk along the Mightly Columbia River! At this point, the river is over a mile wide! The Renaissance Trail will take us to downtown.
In this last photo we are looking at the Interstate 5 bridge. The portion of the bridge closest to us was opened in 1917, the span to the west was built in 1958. This is one of two bridges that link Vancouver with Portland. This pair of bridges handle over 150,000 vehicles a day!
Esther Short Park is the beginning of the waterfront trail, and our city's cultural hub.
The park was established in 1853, and is the oldest public park in the state of Washington. This sculpture stands at the north entrance to the park in honor of Esther and her 10 children. It is called The Pioneer Mother.
This is also where our Farmer's Market is held every Saturday and Sunday from Early April through October.
Well, this is only a small portion of my home town...I hope you have enjoyed your visit! I leave you with a few more notable items about Vancouver WA!
One of the oldest continuously operated airports in the country (Pearson Field, 1905-present)
World’s largest spruce lumber mill for airplane construction during World War I
Pearson Field, landing site of first transpolar flight (Soviet, 1937)
Major shipbuilding center during World War II
Vancouver honored with "All-America City" distinction (1957 and 1987)