Finding the First Fort Vancouver

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Archaeologist Amy Clearman presents “Finding the First Fort Vancouver” on Saturday, May 11, 2019, at 11:00 am and 1:30 pm, at the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center, 1501 East Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver.

“Welcome to the Search for the First Fort Vancouver! In 1825 the Hudson’s Bay Company constructed a fur trade post in what is now Vancouver, Washington. Built on the bluff above the Columbia River, the site was meant to be the temporary Hudson’s Bay Company headquarters in the west until a permanent move to Canada.

Four years later, in 1829, Hudson’s Bay Company governors realized the advantages of remaining in this location for trade and agriculture. Because of the difficulty of accessing the site on the steep bluff, a second fort was built about 1 mile southwest and closer to the Columbia River, where the reconstructed Fort Vancouver now stands.

While historical documents describe the general location of the first fort, no archaeological evidence has ever been discovered pointing to its exact spot. The area is now a residential neighborhood. For my graduate thesis project I am hoping to locate the first fort through documentary research, archaeological investigation, and most importantly, collaboration with members of the community. I will document the search process, as well as post interesting bits of history that I discover along the journey.”

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