Monday, May 8, 2017

Fort Vancouver

The Friends of Multnomah Falls take their volunteers on an Interpretive Training Bus Tour each Spring.  This past Saturday we visited Fort Vancouver.  Fort Vancouver was a 19th century fur trading post that was the headquarters of the Hudson's Bay Company's Columbia Department.

I toured the site many years ago and was happy to see how much more wonderful it is now.  We entered through a magnificent vegetable garden.  It truly made you feel as if you were walking back in time to when the early settlers were living there.

The chives looked lovely, in bloom.  There were lettuces of many varieties ready to eat and it was fun to try to identify each of the small vegetable plants as we walked through.

After entering the gate we got a wonderful and thorough history of the site from a National Park Service employee.  We then walked towards the Fur Warehouse to learn more.  I turned back to snap a photo of the Chief Factor's House which I would get to enter later.  For information of each of these structures, click HERE.

I turned to my left and snapped a photo of the Counting House.

The Bastion was used for security for the fort.

Then I hurried on to catch up with the volunteers heading into the Fur Warehouse.  This is where the furs were bundled and prepared for shipment to England.

A very colorfully dressed interpretive volunteer told us about the fur trade of the time and showed us the furs from different animals.

These are badgers.  We were told that a fur company donated all these furs to them when it was closing down, so no new animals were harmed with the furs they have there on display.

Beaver fur was felted to make top hats which were the fashion of the day.  Here are several different furs - wolf, fox, otter and others.

I asked our "French Canadian Voyageur" if I could get a photo of him outside.  :-)

Next up was the Trading Post which is on the right.  The Dispensary is on the left where health care was given.

I love the Trading Post!  It's full of period items the fort dwellers and Indians needed.  The native people would trade furs for beads, metal teapots, tobacco, meat, blankets, calico and much more.

I love the beads hanging there, I imagine there were more colorful ones back in the day.

The blankets were very important as the winters here are very cold and damp.

Wouldn't you love a bowl like those?

Next up was the Blacksmith Shop.  We were thrilled to see three of the smiths at work.

The smith on the right was operating a huge ceiling hung bellows and shortly a bright fire came to life.

A display of just some of the things that are made here - then and now.

From the moment we arrived we were charmed by adults and many children dressed in period costume who were populating the fort.  Here the youngsters were learning to put up tents on the grounds.  Beyond them is the Bake House - which unfortunately we ran out time to visit.  :-(

A lovely scene.

I hurried on to see inside the Chief Factors House - I loved how each of the rooms were painted bright primary colors.  Wouldn't you love to sit down to a meal there?

What color would you call this?  Jade?  This is where the leaders in the fort dined together.

The parlour - what I love is how the people of that time had the same ideas of comfort and interior design that we still do today.

The children's room.  See how the cots fold up for more play room for the day?

A bedroom.  I love that bed!

This was a charming sampler on the wall.  They had many more children but not all of them lived to adulthood.

After our tour we went to the Grant House on Officers Row for a wonderful lunch.  Our group filled this entire room.

The Grant House.  

A charming gazebo across from the Grant House.

After this we visited the Pearson Air Museum and then the bus went on to Troutdale to tour the Barn Museum and the Harlowe House.  I hope you enjoyed visiting along with us!  


  1. Very interesting. Thanks for taking us along. ;-)

  2. I absolutely, positively enjoyed every bit of this tour. I'm a huge history buff and I love seeing things from our pioneer days. I especially liked the general store. That sampler made me very sad though. Can you just imagine having so many children and not having them live past one or two years old? It must've been devastating for those parents. Thank you for taking us on the tour today Teresa. I really enjoyed it. Blessings, Betsy

  3. I really did enjoy the tour with you. The magic of the internet enabling us to come along with you is a delight.

  4. Thanks so much for this post, Teresa. I have not made it to the Fort yet, and you have motivated me to make visiting it a higher priority. Somehow or other, I did not realize they have folks dressed in period costume and demonstrating some crafts. The folding beds are such a clever way to provide more play room during the day. You have really been on the run this past week! I got the planters on the front porch replanted yesterday, cleaned the chairs and swept...ready for some warmer weather, but grateful that at least we have sunshine! Hope you get rested up in between all your activities. xx

  5. Wonderful tour you took us all on Teresa!!! xoxo

  6. What a wonderful post, Teresa! I felt I was there, and would like to go in person one day. Very, very interesting. And ooooh those beautiful beads!

  7. I loved visiting with you today. Awesome to see your little farmhouse in glorious spring technicolor. I was ruminating on how you use your blog to inspire you and Dayle to visit local hot spots and report back (instead of vegetating indoors.)Thank you so much for the bamboo "starts". I'll get them planted tomorrow. - and post a photo.

  8. Such an interesting post Teresa! Thank you for taking us along to this fascinating historic place with you. Have a happy week!
    Helen xox

  9. You do fun things !!! I love the sampler so much. Love the names Amelia and Cecilia that are cross stitched on the sampler too

  10. What a wonderful visit Teresa and thank you for taking us along. I love the trading post too...what fun it would be to go back in time..but just for 1 day! xxx

  11. I LOVE this post. What a great place to visit. Totally my kind of thing.

  12. I thoroughly enjoyed this tour! What a wonderful place with so many gorgeous things to see! I love how your writing make me feel like we're sitting down with a cup of tea, while you take me through your holiday snaps! All the buildings, particularly Grant House are magnificent.

  13. You captured the day with style and narration ! Great photos, too!

  14. You captured the day with great photos and narration! We had fun, didn't we !

  15. Nice! I especially enjoyed the active blacksmithing! I have never been there, but Outdoors Day is coming up in June and I'll spend the day in the Fort. Thanks for the photos.


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