horizontal banner with Preserve America logo and images of a historic downtown, farm, courthouse, and mountain

Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

Preserve America Community:
Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver (population 143,560) takes its name from Captain George Vancouver, whose ships of exploration came to the Columbia River in 1792. Settlement came several decades later when, in 1825, the Hudson’s Bay Company established Fort Vancouver, the center for all early fur trading in the Pacific Northwest.

After the area passed from British to American control in 1846, the United States Army established Columbia (later Vancouver) Barracks. In 1996, Congress included the Barracks in the newly created Vancouver National Historical Reserve. The Reserve also includes the site of Fort Vancouver with its reconstructed buildings, Pearson Field (one of America’s oldest continuously operating airfields), and other historic properties. The Reserve is managed through a partnership between the City, State, National Park Service, and the U.S. Army.

In 2004, Vancouver entered into an innovative partnership with the International Air and Hospitality Academy to reuse portions of City-owned historic buildings at Vancouver Barracks. The Academy now leases several buildings for use in a hands-on training program. Students in the culinary arts, hotel management, and restaurant management gain experience by running an inn, restaurant, bakery, and commercial kitchen in several of the historic buildings.

Vancouver Barracks is also the venue for Ghost Stories, Vancouver’s premier annual heritage celebration. Through living history presentations and heritage-centered entertainment, performers tell the stories of the past residents and visitors to Officers Row. Thousands attend the event each year, and the proceeds are shared among the arts, heritage, and civic groups that partner to make the event possible.

For more information

City of Vancouver: www.ci.vancouver.wa.us

City of Vancouver Historic Preservation: www.ci.vancouver.wa.us/preservation.asp?menuid=10461&

Southwest Washington Convention and Visitors Bureau: www.southwestwashington.com

National Register Travel Itinerary: www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/aviation

Posted May 26, 2009

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