Visitors to the park can see a reconstruction of the 1825 fur trading post Fort Vancouver, which was founded on the north bank of the Columbia River as the Northwest headquarters of the Hudson’s Bay Company. In 1849, when Americans began settling the area via the Oregon Trail, the U.S. established Vancouver Barracks near the fort—the first U.S. Army post in the Northwest. Pearson Field, at the Barracks, later became a popular practicing ground for early aviators.
Archaeological Fun Fact: Outside the walls of Fort Vancouver, working-class, non-British employees lived in a settlement known as the Village. Hailing from all over the New and Old Worlds its citizens included French Canadian, Scottish, Irish, Hawaiian, Iroquois, and people from over 30 different regional Native American groups. Ongoing archaeological research at the Village continues to uncover information about the daily lives of its diverse population.
Park website: www.nps.gov/fova/
The ancestors of the Coast Salish people occupied this island near the modern border between Washington and British Columbia for thousands of years. Both the United Kingdom and the United States claimed sovereignty over San Juan Island from 1842 to 1872. As a result, in 1859, an incident known as the “Pig War,” occurred after an American settler shot a pig that belonged to an employee of the British Hudson’s Bay Company and both sides brought in a military presence to defend their quarreling citizens. Today, visitors to the island can visit both the American and British military camps that were occupied for 12 years following the dispute until the land was awarded to the United States through arbitration.
Archaeological Fun Fact: Shell middens, large deposits of discarded marine shells, provide archaeologists with information about prehistoric subsistence and settlement patterns at San Juan Island. The shells can be dated directly via radiocarbon dating.
Park website: www.nps.gov/sajh/