Fort Vancouver Historic Site

Top choice in Washington Coast

At this reconstructed fort, park rangers and actors in period costume skillfully summon the era from 1825 to 1845, when it served as headquarters of the British Hudson's Bay Company's western fur-trade operations. Company employees and their families lived in the adjoining village, making Vancouver a thriving and commercially important town. (The original fort burned down in 1866; the reconstruction is based on archaeological research.) As historical presentations go, it's one of the most entertaining and educational in the state.

Within the stockaded grounds, you can learn how the fort was once a center for the burgeoning Northwest fur trade and a bulwark in a shaky 40-year alliance between the Americans and the British. There are also period-accurate gardens, a bakery, blacksmith, carpentry shop and the officers' residence to explore.

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