Taking a step back in time with tours in Vancouver

Week of events explores Fort Vancouver’s history

By Tom Vogt, Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter



Did You Know?

• Local history, educational and cultural groups taking part in the National Trust and Park Service programming include the Vancouver Barracks Military Association, Friends of Fort Vancouver, the Confluence Project and the Fort Vancouver Tapestry project.

On The Web

Fort Vancouver National Trust: Go to fortvan.org/freetours for complete information on all events; RSVP at tours@fortvan.org to guarantee a spot.

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site: www.nps.gov/fova/learn/news/2017npsbirthdayweek.htm

Two organizations will showcase a full week of heritage and culture in Vancouver’s historic core, starting Monday morning with a few hours of right-now science.

The national park at Fort Vancouver and the nonprofit Fort Vancouver National Trust have scheduled lectures and walking tours at some of the Northwest’s most historic spots.

All the events are free, but some limited-participation programs at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will require reservations. An RSVP for National Trust events is required to guarantee a spot.

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is using the week to celebrate the 101st anniversary of the National Park Service, and also note an ongoing centennial.

“We can bring attention to the centennial of U.S. involvement in World War I, and the Vancouver Barracks’ role in the war,” said Bob Cromwell, chief of interpretation at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

On Friday, entrance fees to the reconstructed Fort Vancouver will be waived to mark the birthday of the Park Service.

The National Trust is using one of its tours to show off recent work at Providence Academy, where a renovation project is going on.

The tour will include an exterior review, plus looks at the Academy’s chapel, attic and ballroom, said Richard Burrows, the National Trust’s director of community outreach and programs.

Fort Vancouver National Trust

Solar eclipse viewing:

8 a.m. to noon Monday: check-in in front of the Grant House, 1101 Officers Row.

Academy tour:

10-11 a.m. and 2-3 p.m. Tuesday: The tour of the 1873 Providence Academy involves climbing stairs; people may use a small elevator by prior request. Check in at 400 E. Evergreen Blvd.

Marshall House tour:

10-11 a.m. and 2-3 p.m. Wednesday: The example of Queen Anne architecture is named in honor of Gen. George C. Marshall, who lived there from 1936-1938. Check in at 1301 Officers Row.

Officers Row and West Barracks tour:

10-11 a.m. and 2-3 p.m. Thursday: Buildings of note on the tour include the Grant, Marshall and Howard houses on Officers Row, as well as Artillery Barracks and Red Cross Building in the West Barracks. Walking distance is about 1 1/2 miles. Check in at 750 Anderson Street.

Pearson Field Education Center:

10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday: Pearson Field is the oldest continuously operating airfield in the Pacific Northwest and one of the two oldest continuously operating airfields in the United States. The center’s hangar includes historic-period planes, aviation memorabilia and flight simulators. Check in at 201 East Reserve St.

Post Cemetery tour:

Aug. 26,10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday: The Vancouver Barracks Post Cemetery is the final resting place of many of the people who lived and served at the Vancouver Barracks. Military historian and author Jeff Davis will discuss some of them, ranging from prisoners of war and “unknowns” to Medal of Honor recipients. Check in at cemetery entrance, just north of East Fourth Plain Boulevard and east of Interstate 5, across the street from Clark County Public Health.

Fort Vancouver botany:

10 a.m. to noon and 2-4 p.m. Sunday: The tour’s Vancouver Land Bridge portion will show native plants used by the native people of the area for food, medicine, crafts and building materials. The second portion will show plants typical of mid-19th century England. Walking distance is about 2 miles. Check in at Old Apple Tree Park, 112 S.E. Columbia Way.

At noon, there will be a, showing of “David Douglas, Scottish Botanist.” Douglas (1799-1834) was commissioned by the Royal Horticultural Society to explore the western parts of North America in the 1820s and 1830s. Producer Lois Leonard will answer questions at the end of the one-hour film. Check in at the Red Cross Building, 605 Barnes St.

Fort Vancouver Tapestry:

Noon to 5 p.m., Monday through Sunday, Aug. 27, in the Artillery Barracks, 600 E. Hatheway Road, east entrance. The Fort Vancouver Tapestry consists of more than 70 panels illustrating Clark County history. Measuring 108 feet long, the tapestry was last displayed in 2015.

Marshall House military talks:

Presentation by the Vancouver Barracks Military Association. All the talks are in the Marshall House, 1301 Officers Row.

• 6-8 p.m. Monday: The Vancouver Barracks, Proving Ground for Generals.

• 6-8 p.m. Wednesday: Custer’s sister, Maggie Custer Calhoun, and his other brother-in-law, Fred Calhoun

• 6-8 p.m Friday, Aug. 25: the Medal of Honor

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Solar eclipse viewing:

Monday, with the Visitor Center at 1501 E. Evergreen Blvd. open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; park rangers will distribute information cards that also will serve as pinhole projectors.

Archaeology tours:

10: 30 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Aug. 26: Meet at the entrance to the reconstructed Fort Vancouver, 1001 E. Fifth St. The Wednesday tour will feature the archaeology of the historic garden.

Spruce Mill history:

1 p.m. Aug. 25 and26: The program includes a 30-minute walking tour of the Spruce Mill Trail and a one-hour presentation on the Spruce Production Division, which milled lumber for aircraft production during the war. Meet at Pearson Air Museum, 1115 E. Fifth St.

The DH-4 Liberty:

3 p.m. Aug. 26: A discussion of the history and development of the DH-4 Liberty biplane, which played a significant role during WWI. The talk in Pearson Air Museum on will be followed by a look at the museum’s newly restored DH-4 aircraft.

Historic Garden tours:

9:15 a.m. Tuesday through Aug. 26: Park Service volunteers will provide tours of the garden, which was designed to replicate the Hudson’s Bay Company garden used by fort residents in the 1830s and 1840s.

Land Bridge botany:

9 a.m. Aug. 26: Greg Archuleta, a Grand Ronde lifeways instructor, leads the Confluence Project’s Land Bridge walks that explore the role of native plants in Chinookan culture along the lower Columbia River. The tour starts at Old Apple Tree Park, 112 S.E. Columbia Way. To RSVP, contact Courtney Yilk at 360-693-0123 or at courtney@confluenceproject.org.

Museum artifact tour:

10:30 a.m. Aug. 25: The behind-the-scenes look at the park museum’s collection of archaeological and historic artifacts is for those 10 or older. Meet at the contact station just inside the gates of Fort Vancouver, 1001 E. Fifth St. This tour is limited to 15 participants. Reserve a spot by calling 360-816-6255.

Children’s programs:

There will be programs for children from 2 to 12 years old at three locations:

• 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 25: Junior Ranger Day at Fort Vancouver, 1001 E. Fifth St., ages 6-12.

• 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 26: Junior Ranger Day at Pearson Air Museum, 1115 E. Fifth St., ages 6-12.

• 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 26: Little Learners at the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center, 1501 E. Evergreen Blvd., a drop-in program for ages 2-5.