Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Birthday Pageant Weekend, Chapter 1

 Vancouver, Washington is a city on the northern banks of the Columbia River. Mighty and vital for shipping, hydroelectric power, and irrigation, this river forms the border between Oregon and Washington. 

As many times as we have driven by on the freeways and over the bridges, we have never stopped there. On this trip I decided we needed to explore new places while we still can.

When there is a McMenamin's restaurant in a place you want to visit anyway, you go there for lunch or dinner. McMenamin's is a chain of brewpubs, historic hotels, music venues, and theater pubs in Oregon and Washington, most often in restored old buildings, and furnished with wonderful old stuff. The food is good too.

This McMenamins sits on the northern bank of the Columbia River, conveniently located between the two bridges over the river and close to Fort Vancouver, our next stop. 

Mt Hood looms to the east. Some small ship yards still exist, but during the war years there was a huge shipbuilding site here. The women who worked in the shipyards are honored. 

After a good lunch and a short stroll we drove over to Fort Vancouver. 

Archeology digs are on going as they sift through layers of history. Fort Vancouver opened as a Hudson's Bay trading post in 1825 under the governance of Chief Factor John McLoughlin. The site, located on a broad natural terrace on the river bank was rich in resources: Salmon in the river, trees in the dense forests, and soil for crops. Before the fort it was home for ages to thousands of native Indians.
The US Army arrived in 1846 to quell the Indian uprisings, as Oregon Trail settlers took their lands. The Hudson's Bay Co left in 1860. The Army stayed. In the WWI War years it became a vital airplane production spruce mill and using the millions of spruce trees in the region, produced 120,000 airplanes. The area of the Fort is much larger than this stockade area. The fort became a National Historical Monument in 1948. 

The Chief Factor's House.

The Cook House

We saw most of what there was to see, enjoyed talking to the archeologists, and learned some history before wearing out walking in the sun. 

We were glad we finally stopped to see and learn. 


  1. I'm reading how David Thompson reached the mouth of the Columbia River from Canada. It was a very long journey that he tried twice before he was successful.

  2. That was a full day. I enjoyed tagging along.

  3. Looks like a very interesting historic site to visit

  4. That Fort would have really interested me. The house was quite impressive and I'd love to know what was in those many bottles on the shelf.

  5. Thanks for the great tour. I didn't know most of this history, and all the wonderful pictures brought it to life. :-)

  6. I love the gardens at the Fort. These old buildings hold so much history.

  7. I love those elegantly set dining tables.


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