The outpost was established in the winter of 1824–1825. It was jointly occupied by the United States and Britain whose interests were represented by the Hudson’s Bay Company, which had exclusive trading rights to most of the land that is now Western Canada.
Officers Row is a beautiful setting filled with twenty-two fully-restored nineteenth century homes situated on twenty-one acres just north of the Vancouver Barracks Parade Grounds.
Fort Vancouver National Park interprets the stories of the Native Americans, British Hudson’s Bay Company, and the U.S. Army at Vancouver Barracks.
The Hudson’s Bay Company’s Fort Vancouver was a headquarters and primary supply depot for fur trading operations. Over 35 ethnic and tribal groups were represented in the fur trade village at Fort Vancouver.
Fort Vancouver was originally a British establishment that represented British territorial interests, yet made American settlement in the Pacific Northwest possible.
The subsequent U.S. Army post at the site–known as Columbia Barracks, Fort Vancouver, or Vancouver Barracks provided for peaceful American settlement of the Oregon Country, yet it did so, in part, by battling and dispossessing the native American Indian inhabitants.
In August, 2014, the Village & Barracks Come Alive program brought costumed reenactors from the 1840s to the Fort Vancouver Village, the historic settlement just to the west of Fort Vancouver.
In May 1792, American trader/sailor Robert Gray became the first non-native to enter the Columbia River. Later that year, British Lt. William Broughton, serving under Capt. George Vancouver, explored 100 miles upriver. Along the way, he named a point of land along the shore in honor of his commander.
Dr. John McLoughlin was its first Chief Factor (manager). McLoughlin was later hailed as the Father of Oregon. In 1846, McLoughlin resigned from service with the Hudson’s Bay Company for a homestead of his own. He founded Oregon City in the Willamette Valley.
The furs they had traded for blankets, tobacco and manufactured goods were shipped back on the supply ships. Furs from Fort Vancouver were often being shipped to China where they were traded for Chinese goods before returning to England.
The annual Columbia River Concours d’Elegance Car show (slide show) is held every August along Officer’s Row. The show, produced by the Fort Vancouver National Trust, attracts thousands of fans and hundreds of lovingly restored classic cars each year, as well as motorcycles and bicycles. The Fort Vancouver Consourse de Elegance features big band entertainment under the shade of mighty oaks.