Series sheds light on life at Vancouver Barracks

Free ‘Evening on the Row’ features re-enactors




Friday’s “Evening on the Row” event will be part of a weekly look at life at Vancouver Barracks, offered by costumed interpreters.

The free programs will run from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Officers Row at the Fort Vancouver National Site, through Sept. 10.

Re-enactors will show how U.S. Army officers stationed at Vancouver Barracks spent their evenings, and what their families did while living on the post.


• Friday: Costumed interpreters, Grant House.

• July 23: Veranda soirée rehearsal, Bandstand.

• July 30: Costumed promenade, Grant House.

• Aug. 6: Veranda soirée, Grant House.

• Aug. 13: Barracks tour, Howard House.

• Aug. 20: 1867 croquet, Grant House.

• Aug. 27: Veranda soirée, Grant House.

• Sept. 3: Barracks tour, Howard House.

• Sept. 10: Costumed promenade, Grant House.

To learn more

Learn more about the Vancouver Barracks here

Topics include:

“1867 Croquet” — A quick history and demonstration of croquet. Croquet was a new and exciting game in 1867. Visitors can learn how to play alongside costumed staff and volunteers — just as the families at Vancouver Barracks would have done more than 140 years ago.

“Veranda Soirée” — A look at arts and entertainment through the years. Costumed staff and volunteers recite poetry, do scenes from period dramas, and other dramatic readings from the 1860s to 1900. Following the readings, volunteers perform period music on the veranda of the Grant House Restaurant. It’s a chance to learn what was considered pop music in the 1870s, and what people were reading in the 1890s.

Barracks tours — Hourlong tours begin at the O.O. Howard House, 750 Anderson St., and end at the Grant House Restaurant, 1101 E. Evergreen Blvd. A park guide will lead the walk through the streets of West Barracks. Topics include the St. James Catholic Mission, the old Hudson’s Bay Company cemetery, the post hospital, and the 2011 transfer of Vancouver Barracks to the National Park Service.

The programs will be presented by volunteers and staff members of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and Vancouver National Historic Reserve.

“This free series is an opportunity for us to bring Vancouver Barracks to life,” park guide Cassie Anderson, one of the program’s presenters, said in a news release. “Few people realize that families lived at the post from its establishment in 1849. This series strives to illuminate the lives of those people in Vancouver’s early history.”

“The history of Army families and daily life at the Army’s Fort Vancouver and Vancouver Barracks is often eclipsed by the well-known story of the fur trade and the Hudson’s Bay Company headquarters here,” said Greg Shine, the site’s chief ranger and historian.

“These programs on Officers Row help place Vancouver Barracks in historical context and provide an important window into the history of our community and the broader region,” Shine said in the news release.