The Pacific Northwest was once a wild and uncharted region. Without reliable maps, the early settlers traveled along unsure of safe haven save for a handful of tribes that had an uneasy relationship with these strangers from the east. That began to change when the Hudson’s Bay Company (a company founded in 1670 and still in operation on the Canadian side of the border) opened their series of forts meant to be a place of commerce and a home for adventurous souls who decided to strike out for new fortune far from their homes. Fort Vancouver is one of these forts and is a testament to the human spirit for exploration that has endured since the dawn of humanity.
Fort Vancouver612 East Reserve Street Vancouver, WA 98661 Phone: (360) 816-6200
What to See?
Fort Vancouver is an exact replica of the Hudson’s Bay Company trading fort that operated from 1824 to 1860. Although the original fort was demolished in the 19th century the U.S. National Park Service built an exact replica of the fort as it existed at its height for visitors to come and learn about the past. All of the buildings of the fort are accessible and furnished with authentic furniture from the mid-19th century. There are even actors who portray some of the famous characters associated with the fort during summer months. The park is a great place to learn about the regional history in a wonderful park setting that makes for a pleasant afternoon out with your family.
What to Eat?
If you come during the summer months, I definitely recommend considering a picnic lunch. For those who come at other times of the year or aren’t interested in a picnic there are many restaurants in the Vancouver area to choose from. I personally recommend a place called Billygan’s Roadhouse. My family has stopped at Billygan’s for their amazing burgers since I was a small child. One of the best things about the restaurant is that they offer unlimited peanuts for the numerous hungry travelers stopping in on their way to or from Oregon.
What’s the Cultural Value?
Fort Vancouver represents some of the earliest western settlement in the Pacific Northwest. The fort serves as a place to teach newer generations about their local history. The museum makes an effort to give a realistic portrayal of how events played out without whitewashing the sometimes strained relations with the local Native Americans. Fort Vancouver is one of the few Hudson’s Bay Company forts that was built on the American side of the border making it an interesting look into a period of time form before the borders were completely established.
Recommended Place to Stay
There are many good hotels in town but out of all of them I recommended the Vancouver Hilton. The Hilton is a stellar hotel that is centrally located making it easy for you to get around so that you can fully enjoy your visit. This place makes a good launching point for your adventures during your stay in the wonderful city of Vancouver.
How Is the Overall Rating?
Fort Vancouver is a wonderful place to teach young people about history. The mission of a place like this is to teach the youth how to learn from the past so that they can better prepare for the future. This is best seen through the hands-on approach you find during a visit to this fantastic museum. You absolutely need to make a stop here if you’re the kind of person that loves to learn all about history. There aren’t nearly enough picnic benches and finding parking can be troublesome but everything else is wonderful about this location. Overall Fort Vancouver scores a 4/5 because of the strong cultural value of this treasured place.